EPR for packaging: Are you ready for the future?

EPR for packaging: Are you ready for the future?

In the UK, we are now at the cusp of introducing EPR for packaging, which will change a system many of us have been accustomed to for the last 25 years. No one is saying the change will be easy. Still, there is an understanding that the urgency and pressure to implement EPR compliance is necessary to support the transition to a circular economy. 

Now that many companies have submitted this year’s return under the current UK Packaging Waste Regulations, they should not wait too long before turning their attention to the first submission under the new EPR for packaging system, which for those businesses classed as ‘large organisations’ will need to be completed by October 1 this year!  

We are all familiar and comfortable with completing an annual return, which many businesses forget about once submitted until they need to submit it again the following year. Under the new system, moving to bi-annual submissions is a big reporting shift, and now with only six months to get ready, companies should start preparing by collecting the data outlined in The Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) (England) Regulations 2023,which came into effect February 28 2023. 

Businesses affected by new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) rules giving producers responsibility for the costs of their packaging throughout its life cycle must start collecting data before the scheme’s launch in January 2024. Here’s what you need to know.

READ MORE: A handy guide to all things Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). Find out what you need to know, including why it’s important, whether it applies to you, timelines, what to do and much more.

When to collect and report your data for 2023 

If you have all the required data recorded from January 1, 2023, you should report this data. 

If you do not have all the required data recorded from January 1, you must report all of your data from March 1, 2023. If you report data that covers a period starting from March 1, this will be used to calculate a full year’s worth of data. 

Large and small organisations in Wales should comply with this reporting schedule if they have the required data. If they do not have the necessary data, they should start collecting data from the date the regulations come into force in Wales in mid-2023 and submit it between January 1, 2024, and April 1, 2024. 

What data do you need to collect? 

You must collect data about the packaging you’ve supplied through the UK market or imported into the UK. 

The data you collect must include the following categories: 

  • packaging activity – this is how you supplied the packaging 
  • packaging material and weight 
  • packaging class – whether the packaging is primary, secondary, shipment or tertiary 
  • packaging type – for example, if the packaging is household or non-household 

You may also need to collect nation data. This is information about which nation in the UK packaging is supplied and which nation in the UK packaging is discarded. 

Reporting your data 

Large organisations need to report data every six months. Small organisations report data once a year. 

Find out if you’re a small or large organisation, and what this means. 

You must report your data by submitting a file using the ‘Report packaging data’ service. 

Find out how to create your EPR for packaging data file. 

Check if you need to report nation data 

Nation data is information about which nation in the UK packaging is supplied in and which nation in the UK packaging is discarded in. 

If your organisation must act under EPR for packaging, you must submit nation data if you also do any of the following: 

  • supply filled or empty packaging directly to customers in the UK, where they are the end user of the packaging 
  • supply empty packaging to UK organisations that are either not legally obligated, or are classed as a small organisation 
  • hire or loan out reusable packaging 
  • own an online marketplace where organisations based outside the UK sell their empty packaging and packaged goods to UK consumers 
  • import packaged goods into the UK for your own use and discard the packaging 

You will need to submit your nation data for the 2023 calendar year by December 1, 2024. 

Nation data should show where in the UK you’ve supplied packaging to a person or business who’s gone on to discard it. 

Supplying packaging includes: 

  • selling 
  • hiring 
  • loaning 
  • gifting 

This also includes packaging that you’ve imported, emptied and then discarded. 

If the deadline is missed, businesses may need to pay a penalty charge 

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will establish a monitoring and enforcement regime where environmental regulators in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will have the powers to monitor, audit and use civil and criminal penalties to drive compliance and address non-compliance. 

READ MORE: This is our green shot. 2023 must be a banner year for policy action in the UK. From building electrification and decarbonisation to Extended Producer Responsibility, 2023 must be the tipping point.

Get help 

If you have any questions, please visit our website or speak to one of our advisors today on +44 (0)1865 721375. 

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