Unpacking the latest EPR Reporting changes: Navigating household vs. non-household packaging

Our Policy Advisor, Henry Smith's blog unpacks the nuances of household vs. non-household packaging, helping obligated businesses to understand their reporting requirements and stay ahead of the curve with latest EPR reporting changes.

Amendments to the packaging EPR data reporting regulations, which came into effect on 1 April, are a welcome relief for producers of business-to-business packaging who may no longer be forced to declare it as ‘household packaging’ due to their supply model; increasing the likelihood that their packaging won’t incur EPR waste management fees in the future.

Here we break down five things to bear in mind about these latest rule changes.

1. The old requirements remain in place

These latest regulatory amendments introduce additional rules for reporting your packaging as non-household; they do not replace the old rules. As a result, it remains the case going forward that secondary and tertiary packaging should be reported as non-household packaging in all circumstances with any primary and/or shipment packaging you directly supply to a business end-user capable of being reported as non-household if you can prove this.

2. The new requirements apply to future submissions

These new reporting parameters only apply to packaging placed on the UK market from January 2024 onwards. The first data reporting period these altered rules apply in will be across Quarter 3 2024, where producers are to report their packaging activities undertaken across the first half of 2024. This means that these new rules do not apply to any packaging submission relating to 2023.

3. Claims of non-household packaging can be substantiated on 2 further grounds

Following industry engagement, Defra has implemented additional improved conditions under which primary and shipment packaging can be reported as non-household. Crucially, packaging must meet both of the additional conditions to be reported as non-household:

  • The packaging is used on a product that is designed for use in a business or public institution


  • The packaging is not reasonably likely to be disposed of in a household or public bin

4. Proving your product is designed for business use

Whilst guidance on when regulators will regard a product as being only designed for business or public institution use is intentionally open-ended, guidance within a new version of the ‘Agreed Positions’ provides useful indications on the kind of documentation a producer must collect and present in case of a regulator audit of their data. This could include details of the attributes of the product including the size, weight, and quantity. The pre-requisites needed for proper use of the product (e.g. qualified persons) could also be used to substantiate claims, as well as how available a product is to household consumers (e.g. it is only available to registered tradespeople).

5. Proving your packaging won’t be disposed of in households

If your packaging is too big or heavy to be recycled in a household bin, or if the packaging’s disposal is subject to legal restrictions, this could be used to substantiate the claim that certain primary or shipment packaging is unlikely to be disposed of in households. Again, this condition is quite open-ended and there are a variety of evidence types that may be of relevance – product and packaging specifications, legal information, distribution channels, etc.

As these reporting requirements are novel, we are yet to fully understand how they will be interpreted by the regulators and they still leave some grey areas. This means that business packaging may have to continue to be reported as household in some instances. For this reason, whilst we welcome these improvements to the data reporting requirements producers face, we will continue to engage with government on our members’ behalf in our drive to ensure that all business packaging can be reported as non-household.