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What are the Main Political Parties’ Stances on Packaging EPR?

On the 25th of May, we entered the pre-election period during which time there are restrictions on government activity, with Parliament dissolving on 30th May. To ensure the smooth functioning of the government and public services during this time, essential business will continue. However, in line with the Civil Service Code and Ministerial Code, the Department for Environment, Farming and Agriculture (Defra) will not initiate new activity.

Defra continues to prepare for the implementation of the Collection and Packaging Reforms programme which includes Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging. However, this could mean delays to elements of EPR guidance and legislation such as the announcement of the EPR illustrative base fees. The ability to achieve the original timeline, could be impacted.

Whilst a change in Government could impact Defra’s ability to achieve their initial timelines, all main political parties are in support of EPR, and we don’t expect to see any major changes to the policy (at least in the immediate future). Clarity has put together a guide on the main political party stances on EPR and related waste policies so you can stay ahead of the curve of the environmental policies that may impact your business.

Conservatives (Current Government)

The Conservative Party has generally supported EPR schemes as part of their broader environmental and waste management policies. They introduced the Resources and Waste Strategy in 2018, which includes measures to improve recycling rates and reduce plastic waste. Under this strategy, the government has committed to implementing EPR for packaging, which requires producers to cover the costs of recycling and disposing of packaging waste.


The Green Party advocates for a circular economy that reduces the waste of resources, zero waste policies and believes that producers should be fully responsible for the environmental costs of their products. The Green Party’s position includes high recycling targets, penalties for non-compliance, and strong incentives for reducing packaging waste.

The party also pledged to make ten-year warranties mandatory for white goods to encourage repair and reuse and to “eliminate built-in obsolescence”.

Set and deliver legal targets to eliminate non-essential single-use packaging by the late 2030s and a 30% reuse target by 2030, including through immediately implementing an all-in Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for recycling and reuse and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) requirements that promote reuse and packaging reduction. Alongside this, commit to a complete ban on all plastic waste exports by 2027 at the latest, and ending approvals for new incineration facilities.

Green Party Manifesto


Whilst Labour makes little mention of EPR and recycling in their manifesto, they reference the move to the circular economy. In the past Labour have shown support for EPR and have criticised the Conservative government’s implementation speed and has called for more robust and immediate measures.

In their 2019 manifesto, Labour advocated for stricter regulations on producers and higher targets for recycling and waste reduction.

It is vital that we tackle waste and increase recycling, including through legislation and the extended producer responsibility guidance, but the scheme must be well designed so that it incentivises appropriate behaviours.

Dame Nia Griffith

Labour MP

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats, although didn’t mention EPR by name, strongly advocate for the move to a circular economy and are committed to decentralise decision-making from Whitehall and Westminster by inviting local areas to take control of the services that matter to them most.

The Liberal Democrats committed to the complete elimination of non-recyclable, single-use plastics within three years with an ambition to end plastic waste exports by 2030. The manifesto states that the party are committed to a DRS, “learning the lessons from the difficulties with the Scottish scheme.”

In their 2024 Manifesto the Liberal Democrats state that they aim for the following:

[...] create a nature-positive economy, tackle plastic pollution and waste, and get Britain recycling.

Liberal Democrats Manifesto


Whilst there is a temporary pause in Defra’s regular stakeholder communications and meetings until the conclusion of the pre-election period, there is continued preparation for the Collection and Packaging Reforms, including Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). This could delay elements of EPR guidance and legislation. Particularly during a time of political volatility, it’s more important than ever to utilise the expertise of your compliance partner to ensure continuity and ongoing compliance with the regulations.

Assessing the key political parties’ stances on EPR and waste policies are as follows:

  • Labour: Supports a circular economy, criticised slow EPR implementation, and previously has advocated for stronger producer regulations.
  • Conservatives: Back EPR within their Resources and Waste Strategy, requiring producers to bear recycling and disposal costs.
  • Liberal Democrats: No explicit mention of EPR however advocate for a circular economy, aim to eliminate single-use plastics, and empower local decision-making.
  • Greens: Push for zero waste policies, producer responsibility, high recycling targets, and measures against built-in obsolescence of products that fall under the WEEE regulations.

EPR is likely to remain a key part of environmental policy, and while each party may have different adjustments in mind, current polls suggest that no major immediate changes will take place following the 3rd of July election.

Further Support

With no additional government guidance or communications around EPR during this period, if you have any questions or queries around Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging, whether you are a partner of ours or not, please reach out to our team of compliance experts by completing the form below or by emailing us at

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