Defra confirms progress of labelling rules for EPR

Business Readiness Forum confirms OPRL labelling fulfils requirements due to come into force from 2027

Following Steve Barclay's recent appearance in front of the Environment Audit Committee, the Government yesterday provided further confirmation that implementation of its deposit return scheme for containers in the UK is likely to come into force in 2027.

Addressing industry stakeholders at yesterday’s Business Readiness Forum, Linda Crichton, Team Leader of Packaging Policy at Defra, said that labelling requirements under EPR will become effective from 1 April 2027. In doing this she stated that the On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) scheme will meet the labelling requirements for EPR.

Under the forthcoming rules, every item of consumer packaging must bear a label with instructions for recycling. These labels need to be ready for when the scheme comes into force. While not all items on shop shelves will have the correct labels when the scheme comes into force, Defra expects all businesses to have processes in place to ensure that correct labelling takes place from the start date of packaging EPR.

Jude Allen, OPRL's interim MD
Jude Allen
Jude Allan, Interim MD at OPRL, welcomed confirmation that its labels would meet requirements: “Defra’s announcement gives businesses the certainty they need. With this deadline confirmed, brands can now begin the mammoth task of preparing to label every packaging product placed on the market.

“We’ve been working hard to ensure our labels are consistent with EPR regulations, so Defra’s clarification on the compliance of the OPRL label gives a head start to those brands which are already signed up to our labelling scheme. But we are also here to advise those just starting out on the journey.

“As well as designing packaging to incorporate recycling labels, businesses need to assess recyclability and evidence their claims. As the organisation behind the only label currently compliant with EPR, OPRL has 15 years of experience in building the tools to assess recyclability, and we are well-aware of the scale of this undertaking. Together, we will meet the demands of EPR and build a more sustainable packaging supply chain.”

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