LARAC raises concern about EPR funding gap for drinks containers

Government decision to not include DRS materials in producer costs of packaging extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme from 2025 means ‘practical application of the Polluter Pays Principle appears increasingly elusive’.

Cathy Cook, Chair of LARAC
Cathy Cook, Chair of LARAC
The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) has expressed disappointment at Defra’s decision to exclude deposit return schemes (DRS) containers from EPR costs, leaving local authorities to continue covering the costs of drinks containers through existing funding mechanisms. 

This follows Defra’s recent announcement to delay the introduction of UK-wide DRS schemes until October 2027 while pressing ahead with implementing EPR sooner.

LARAC has raised concerns about the practical application of the Polluter Pays Principle, which it says now ‘appears increasingly elusive’, as some but not all packaging will be in scope from January 2025.

Commenting on the situation, Cathay Cook, Chair of LARAC said: “We welcome the extension of financial support for local authorities, but we are disappointed that funding will continue to rely on Revenue Support Grants rather than shifting to the EPR scheme.

“The delay underscores the urgent need for a robust framework ensuring that producers bear the financial burden of all product packaging in line with the Polluter Pays Principle.”

According to a LARAC spokesperson, Defra’s confirmation that funding to collect containers remains through the Revenue Support Grant is ambiguous, as the Revenue Support Grant covers a range of local authority services.

By excluding DRS containers from EPR costs, the UK Government is continuing to put the financial burden for collecting this packaging on local authorities, which has implications for their budgets.

LARAC is set to lobby for these costs to be included in the EPR from its inception next year, arguing that the principles underlying both EPR and DRS demand accountability from producers from the start.

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