Ecoveritas warns against ‘misguided’ attempts to derail landmark EPR reform

Packaging data collection and reporting specialists Ecoveritas today warned that any rowing back on planned Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) reforms are both reckless and irresponsible.

Food industry bosses suggested that whoever inherits the keys to Number 10 as the United Kingdom’s next Prime Minister should take another look at EPR, which is due to come into force in 2024, against the backdrop of the current cost-of-living crisis.

A seriously overdue revamp of 1997 legislation, EPR will see packaging producers and retailers take on more responsibility for the treatment and disposal of post-consumer packaging.

The latest developments follow comments from Food and Drink Federation CEO Karen Betts, who suggested shoppers would add another £60 to every household’s annual shopping bill – the equivalent of 12 days of food and non-alcoholic drink for the lowest income families. As a result, speculation is mounting that the landmark reforms could be vulnerable.

“Put simply, this is a baffling and somewhat misguided intervention,” said Andrew McCaffery, EPR Director at Ecoveritas. “The costs will be nowhere near that significant at the household level and should actually be less than they are paying currently through their local tax. It is disheartening to see businesses again putting their bottom line ahead of the planet.. The environment cannot afford for EPR to be delayed or watered down.

“Thankfully, people can see right through this latest attempt to row back on green initiatives using the cost of living as cover. With people’s sustainability knowledge having ballooned in the past decade, the majority understand that economic success and environmental responsibility go hand in hand and that failure to tackle climate change now will hand future generations a cost-of-living crisis which is far, far worse. Indeed, this is the mood among many of our clients and service users.

“Some parts of the food industry have, quite frankly, got this wrong and should instead focus their efforts on getting the implementation of EPR correct. Otherwise, they risk a scenario of getting the worst of both worlds, where they shoulder the cost of inefficient local authority collections and highly volatile PRN prices.

“Before we can assess the precise impact of EPR and reflect the true costs to business, we need to optimise its implementation and build the green revolution we all want to see. Failure to act now is just storing up problems for future generations.”

Ecoveritas’ leading suite of data services will be central to helping businesses prepare for their obligations under new legislation, including EPR reforms, the Plastic Packaging Tax and the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

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