Government confirms extended producer responsibility delay

Defra has today (25 July) confirmed that extended producer responsibility fees will be delayed a year until October 2025. 

Packaging bottles extended producer responsibilityPackaging producers must still collect and report their packaging data for 2023, the requirements for which started in early 2023.

According to Defra, reporting dates currently stand as follows:

  • For the period January to June 2023, report data before 1 October 2023;
  • And for the period July to December 2023, report data before 1 April 2024.

Packaging data is expected to be reported every six months.

The delay has been rumoured for a while, with a government project progress report last week (20 July) rating collections and packaging reforms as ‘red’ – meaning they are unachievable by 2027.

Lee Marshall, Policy and External Affairs Director at CIWM, said: "After raising our concerns directly with the Prime Minister just last month, CIWM is disappointed to learn that EPR for packaging fees have been deferred for a year.

“While this is not altogether surprising, we believe this delay will have a significant impact, resulting in the public continuing to bear the cost of packaging recycling and disposal, less investment in recycling infrastructure due to a loss of confidence in the legislative framework, and a significant slowing of the UK’s green economy.

"Today, we reiterate our call for government to press ahead with executing the reforms on EPR and consistent collections.

“The sector is ready, willing and able to implement them and bring about the step-change in recycling rates that they are designed to deliver. This is a valuable opportunity for the UK to show strong leadership and demonstrate its commitment to lead on combatting climate change, and CIWM stands ready to support as we continue our journey to a world beyond waste."

Paul Sanderson, chief executive of The Recycling Association, added: "This further delay to the implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility is unbelievable.

"We've been waiting too long for EPR and Consistency of Collections to be introduced, and we need to get on with it.

"Both of these policies have the potential to transform the UK recycling landscape, and provide essential funds to develop UK infrastructure. We've had too many years of drift already since these policies were first announced in 2018, and now it seems we won't get any further until at least 2025. That is too long, especially as much of the detail should have long been worked out.

"This delay must ensure that we are fully ready to implement EPR and Consistency of Collections soon after with all of the policy detail worked out and agreed."

When was extended producer responsibility due to start?

Obligated producers classified as ‘large organisations’ are currently due to meet the reporting requirement to give their packaging data to Environment Agency twice a year, with fees starting from 1 October 2024 before the delay.

A ‘large organisation’ is classified as an organisation with a turnover of greater than £2 million and that handles more than 50 tonnes of packaging each year.

Packaging producers will have to pay a fee to an environmental regulator and buy packaging waste recycling notes (PRNs) or packaging waste export recycling notes (PERNs) to meet recycling obligations under extended producer responsibility for packaging. A PRN or PERN is a certificate proving that packaging waste has been recycled properly.

Defra says that it will let producers know ‘as soon as [they] can’ what the material fees – which depend on the materials producers report – will be.

Producers will also 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.

As per the delay, from 2025 the waste management fees will also vary depending on how easily the packaging can be recycled with lower fees applying for packaging that is easier to recycle.

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