Defra has published a draft Statutory Instrument in parliament that outlines how businesses will be required to submit their packaging data for the incoming Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system. The Department has also issued new guidance on preparing for the forthcoming EPR.
EPR is 1 of 4 environmental reforms set out in the 2018 Resource and Waste Strategy, it requires producers with an annual turnover of £2 million, who handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging each year, to report data on the amount and type of packaging they supply. It will also increase the frequency of this reporting from once to twice per year.
Statutory instruments are a form of legislation which allow for Acts of Parliament to be altered and/or introduced. This SI describes how the Packaging Waste Regulations 2022 will be enacted on 28th February 2023 and is due to extend to England and Wales but apply to England only.
This document mandates producers in England to collect data in the required format from March 2023, with recommendations to begin collecting data from January 1st, 2023, if systems allow. There will also be a new de minimis threshold for smaller producers with an annual turnover of £1 million and handle more than 25 tonnes of packaging annually will be required to collect packaging data. The introduction of the additional de minimis threshold is thought to bring 1,823 new businesses into scope of packaging waste obligations.
The SI confirmed that obligated producers will also be required to maintain records for each data collection period for a minimum of 7 years after the end of the collection period.
The data SI is a crucial aspect to the introduction of EPR, without it, data requirements for obligated producers would not be enforceable.
Following the SI, many in the industry are looking to the EPR response document which is set to move the EPR system introduction forward. Many have high hopes that it will be released soon with the Environment Minster, Thérèse Coffey, very keen to progress the new regulations.
The document published alongside the SI outlined the requirement from producers of packaging to collect and report data on the amount and format of packaging they place on the market. This data will be very important under the new system, it is required for 2024 fee calculation when EPR comes into full force.
The provisions in the legislation require producers of packaging to collect and report their packaging data from March 2023, or January if possible. Companies excluded from regulations include charities, those using reused packaging, production residues from the production of packaging, all packaging materials exported from the UK, and “scheme packaging”.