Extended Producer Responsibility | All you need to know

Extended Producer Responsibility | All you need to know

Here is your 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.


Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a new UK legislation that will replace the current Packaging Waste Regulations with a phased implementation from 2023. It is an environmental policy that requires producers to pay the total cost of dealing with the waste they produce from when it is placed onto the market to the end of its life.

These new regulations build on the existing Packaging Waste Regulations which have been in place since 1997 and it is hoped that their implementation will achieve a reduction in the environmental impact of products throughout their life cycle. The idea is that if you produce the pollution, then you should pay for the costs of the impact it can have on the environment as well as on people’s health. So, under EPR proposals, packaging producers will be responsible for the entire cost of recycling the household packaging they place on the market including the cost of collection, treatment, and of course recycling.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach under which producers are given a significant responsibility – financial and/or physical – for the treatment or disposal of products and/or packaging at the end of its life.

Who invented EPR?                                                                                                    

It all started with Thomas Lindhqvist in 1990 at Sweden’s Lund University, when he introduced the EPR concept in a report to the Swedish Ministry of the Environment.

Why is EPR important?

Designed to divert and reduce waste, EPR closes the loop on materials management, recovering product/packaging waste when the user discards it and reusing it as a raw material to produce a new product or packaging material.

What is full net cost recovery?

Full net cost recovery seeks to make obligated producers responsible for the entire cost of recycling the packaging they place on the market; this includes the cost of collection, treatment and recycling. Producers will be required to pay the costs of dealing with packaging waste that arises with the householder and on the go packaging disposed of in street bins.

This is a fundamental step change away from the existing Packaging Waste Regulations, which requires obligated producers to pay towards ensuring there is enough capacity to meet the recycling targets. Under full net cost recovery obligated producers will see a significant rise in their compliance costIt is envisioned that the cost of compliance will rise from approximately £350 million to £1.7 billion under the proposed EPR system.

What are modulated fees?

A modulated fee system will be introduced from 2025, where varying costs of compliance will be used  depending on the environmental impact of the packaging placed on the market. Packaging that can be easily recycled will attract lower EPR fees compared to hard to recycle packaging. This will therefore provide a financial incentive for producers to make their packaging more recyclable.

Government will hopefully start to provide some details on the structure of modulated fees towards the end of 2023. Nevertheless, it is clear that hard to recycle materials will incur higher costs, whereas more easily recyclable packaging will be rewarded with lower fees.

EPR timeline

Why is EPR being implemented?

In 2018 the UK adopted the Circular Economy Package (CEP), meaning that the UK is committed to the full net cost of collecting, sorting, treating, and recycling to be funded by producers rather than central government taxation. EPR is set to help local councils by funding collections and more effective management of packaging waste; it is the UK’s answer to meeting the CEP and encourages the use of easy-to-recycle materials and penalises the use of hard-to-recycle materials.

Does EPR affect your business?

If you are a producer first placing packaging on the UK market, whether UK sourced or imported, it is likely you will be affected by EPR.

Obligated producers classified as ‘large organisations’ with an annual turnover of greater than £2 million and who are responsible for supplying or importing more than 50 tonnes of empty packaging or packaged goods must meet the reporting requirement to give this data to the environmental regulator twice a year, starting from 1 October 2023.

These producers will have to pay a fee to the environmental regulator and buy packaging waste recycling notes (PRNs) or packaging waste export recycling notes (PERNs) to meet recycling obligations under EPR.

Producers will have to pay an administrative fee and a waste management fee to scheme administrators for the packaging they handle and supply that is collected by local authorities from households or street bins from April 2024.

Small organisations with an annual turnover will also be liable to record and report data, and pay fees to an environmental regulator from 2024, but will be excluded from buying PRNs or PERNs, and paying administrative and waste management fees. These are classified as producers with an annual turnover between £1 million and £2 million and are responsible for supplying or importing between 25 and 50 tonnes of empty packaging or packaged goods through in the UK.

How much will EPR cost?

As soon as we can, we will give you an indication of what your fees will be in 2024.

From 2025 the waste management fee will vary depending on the type of materials you have reported. Your fee will be lower if you use materials that are easier to recycle.

Visit the news and blogs section of the site for a deeper dive into the subjects that matter to you!

When to collect and report your data for 2023 

Packaging producers are now mandated to collect packaging data under new packaging Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) rules.

The statutory instrument (SI), titled Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) (England) Regulations 2023, which was laid before parliament back in the Autumn, has now been strengthened, and data reporting legislation has come into force.

It mandates obligated producers in England to collect data from March 2023 and requires reporting data on the amount and type of packaging placed on the market.

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.


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.

How to comply for EPR

To comply with the regulations, you must:

  • record data about all the empty packaging and packaged goods you supply or import in the UK from either 1 January 2023 or 1 March 2023 (for more information about this see the section about ‘when to collect and report your data for 2023’)
  • create an account for your organisation from January 2024
  • pay a charge to the environmental regulator from 2024
  • report data about empty packaging and packaged goods you supplied or imported

When you report data depends on if you are a ‘small’ or ‘large’ producer, as detailed in the timeline above.

If you miss the deadline, you may need to pay a penalty charge.

You may also need to report nation data.

When will EPR officially start and what will the waste management fees for 2024 be?

The scheme is scheduled to start in 2024, but the exact date is still to be confirmed – it is likely to be around April given that producers have been told this is when waste management fees will begin.

Defra says that the data it is currently collecting will provide the basis for establishing the packaging waste management fees individual producers will pay next year and that more information on the fees will be provided ‘as soon as we can’.

It had indicated that​​ from 2025 the waste management fee will vary depending on the type of materials producers have reported. The fee will be lower for materials that are easier to recycle.

When will producers in Wales need to start collecting data?

It still needs to be confirmed when reporting requirements in Wales will come into force, although Defra states that the nation will follow the rest of the UK ‘shortly’.

In a Welsh Government memorandum, it acknowledges that Welsh producers will be required to collect and report data from 2023, in order to inform the calculation of fees in 2024. It implies elsewhere that collection of packaging data  will ‘become mandatory in March 2023’

Packaging activities

You may need to act if you do any of the following:

What data will 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

There should be four parts to the data you collect about your packaging. These are:

You may also need to collect nation data. This is information about where your packaging has been sold, hired, loaned, gifted or discarded in the UK. 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.

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.

Getting help with EPR

We will be working with all our current clients on a one-to-one basis to prepare for the upcoming changes, but please do reach out to your account manager if you have any questions.

If you are new to the world of EPR, please speak to one of our advisors on +44 (0)1865 721375 to find out how we can help you take the complexity out of environmental compliance!

How to prepare for EPR?

To prepare for EPR and achieve a seamless transition to the new system, you should:

Extended Producer Responsibility process diagram fora smooth transition

What is Ecoveritas?

The easiest and most comprehensive way to manage environmental data and reporting needs.

What does Ecoveritas do?

Ecoveritas is an environmental compliance data specialist that provides a range of tools and expertise to brands, retailers, and supply chains to minimise the environmental impact of their packaging efficiently.

To meet the complex challenges of managing environmental compliance reporting, Ecoveritas offers a unique combination of consulting, data and software that helps companies around the globe take the next step in their sustainability journey.

Our team takes a fresh approach to the environmental compliance market by adding years of supply chain and technical development expertise to an experienced environmental data team to provide SaaS-based services.

Our mission is to make it easy for companies to understand their obligations, get compliant and respond appropriately through reduction, substitution, and recycling.

Ecoveritas’ services

  • Extended Producer Responsibility Data Management & Reporting
  • Plastic Tax Data Management & Reporting
  • EPR Horizon Scanning
  • EPR Consulting

Ecoveritas can help you prepare your packaging for EPR and to get ready to record data from 1st January 2023.

Navigating environmental legislation is time-consuming. For businesses operating across numerous countries, the issue is even more complex.

We can help;

  • Identify how your business can best prepare to minimise EPR impacts
  • Help you gather and capture the granular data EPR requires.

Let Ecoveritas take the strain

Contact us to discuss your needs