ecoveritas warns of spiralling costs associated with two-system producer responsibility

Leading packaging data specialist ecoveritas has welcomed what it calls the government’s “largely pragmatic approach” to producer responsibility but urged caution over potentially spiralling costs to British business.

The government recently concluded its second round of consultations and engagement with stakeholders. This consultation provides more clarity on how the delayed plans will transition from the current framework of producer obligation to a phased introduction of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

The shift will see current systems built on, rather than scrapped, but does demand more granular reporting and greater investment to achieve better outcomes for packaging waste.

“ecoveritas view the decision to continue with direct incentives for processors as a welcome nod to the size and scale of the contributions required,” said Andrew McCaffery, EPR Director at ecoveritas. “At the same time the Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) reforms go some way towards improving the evidence note trading system and securing better environmental outcomes.

“The proposed reforms breathes new life into a system that needs change, but could go further and also clarity is required. If the PRN system is to be retained in its current form then there must be greater level of traceability of PRNs and tougher in its enforcement on waste packaging exports. In our opinion, the PRN value has to either be capped or fixed for the new system to work. With the bulk of producer costs going to the collection system. Not only would this create a better investment environment for the recycling industry, but it would also demonstrate an efficient way for producers to pay for recycling.

“Clarity remains key regarding the all-important cost implications of this two-system approach. Concise signposting to available support will also be crucial in preventing the overburdening and disincentivising of producers and processors.”

ecoveritas has produced a more thorough examination of the UK Government’s decisions on packaging EPR, which is available by emailing

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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