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On-line checker launched to help explain EPR for packaging

As reported in a previous Food & Drink newsletter, the way that UK businesses carry out their recycling responsibilities is changing. From 1 January 2023, all businesses that handle and supply packaging must comply with the new extended producer responsibility (EPR) data recording and reporting requirements.

Food containers subject to EPR

The new regulations apply to all UK organisations that handle and supply packaging. Businesses within the Food and Drink sector will be particularly affected. You must take action to comply if all the following apply:

  • you’re an individual business, subsidiary or group (but not a charity)
  • you have an annual turnover of £1 million or more (based on your most recent annual accounts)
  • you’re responsible for over 25 tonnes of packaging in a calendar year
  • you carry out any of the packaging activities listed (which includes packaging own-brand products, using a third party to package and sell to UK consumers, hiring or loaning out reusable packaging).

The Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) (England) Regulations 2022 were laid before Parliament at the end of November 2022 and set out the detail of exactly who is in what class of ‘producer’ and what data they must collect. Large producers (those with an annual turnover of more than £2 million and responsible for 50 tonnes of packaging) are required to register by April 2023 and submit their first data set to the Environment Agency for the first 6 months of 2023 by the end of September 2023.

At the end of December 2022, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Environment Agency launched an online checker (which you can access here) to help producers understand their obligations under the new system of EPR for packaging. The tool can be used to find out if the regulations apply to you, whether you’ll need to pay a fee and what you need to do next. In order to use the checker you will need to know: (i) your annual turnover; (ii) the ways that your organisation handles and supplies packaging; and (iii) the total weight in tonnes of packaging that you handled and supplied in 2022.

How we can help

If you think your business will be caught by the EPR for packaging, you will need to start carrying out/preparing for this complex data recording process. Our Regulatory and Compliance Team can help you navigate the new EPR for packaging rules. The team has a great deal of experience advising the Food and Drink sector on how to keep up to date with an evolving regulatory landscape.