You are here: Home / News / OPRL’s Dr. Margaret Bates Announced as Head of the EPR Scheme Administrator
Dr Margaret Bates

OPRL’s Dr. Margaret Bates Announced as Head of the EPR Scheme Administrator

Defra recently announced the formal appointment of Dr. Margaret Bates as head of the Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging (EPR) Scheme Administrator.

This announcement indicates positive progress being made in the implementation of EPR with the Scheme Administrator crucial to the functioning of the new packaging policy.  

In this role Dr. Bates will oversee the implementation and preparedness of the Scheme Administrator. 

From Not for Profit to NGO

Dr. Margaret Bates currently serves as the Managing Director of OPRL, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to aiding businesses in accessing recycling and refill messaging for brand and retailer packaging. OPRL is also the entity behind the iconic recycling ‘swoop’ often found on consumer packaging, the same recycling icon that will be mandatory for businesses obligated under EPR to apply to their packaging starting in 2026/27. 

With a PhD in Landfill Microbiology, Dr. Bates boasts over three decades of experience in the Waste and Recycling industry. Prior to her appointment at OPRL in 2020, she held the position of Professor of Sustainable Waste Management at the University of Northampton. Additionally, she served as the President of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management in 2016-17. 

Dr. Bates is a Chartered Waste Manager, International Waste Manager, a Chartered Environmentalist, and a Fellow of IOM3, the Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining. 

What is the role of the Scheme Administrator in the EPR scheme?

1. Fee Determination and Management

The Scheme Administrator will be responsible for developing the mechanism for producers to pay fees covering local authorities’ disposal costs for household packaging waste, whilst also overseeing the collection of fees from obligated producers for waste management and operational expenses.

2. Funds Dissemination to Local Authorities

The Administrator will oversee the fair allocation of EPR funds to Local Authorities and conduct assessments to ensure their efficiency and effectiveness in managing household waste.

3. Regulatory Intervention and Performance Management

In cases of underperformance, the Administrator has the power to issue improvement plans to councils and withhold payments based on their operational efficiency, aiming for a culture of accountability and continuous improvement within household waste collection systems.

The Treasury has stipulated that the Scheme Administrator must be from the public sector, as it will undertake a sovereign-type function, making executive decisions on specific issues within its remit.

Defra’s announcement last year of an interim Scheme Administrator steering group for the UK’s EPR for packaging scheme is a positive indication of Defra’s willingness to engage with industry to ensure the best outcome for all players in the new system.

The steering group will oversee operations during the lead-up to the introduction of fees scheduled for October 2025. The steering group, composed of representatives from diverse sectors, including producer groups, trade associations, and an environmental non-government organisation, will play a critical role in providing guidance and shaping the future governance framework for EPR.


I’m pleased to see this significant step forward in the establishment of the EPR scheme administrator, this development marks tangible progress towards the implementation of EPR. Congratulations to Dr. Margaret Bates on her appointment; I am confident that we are in safe hands with her background and experience, and I eagerly anticipate seeing how Dr. Bates engages with industry to ensure the most effective implementation of the scheme administrator.

Martin Trigg-Knight

Director of Compliance Services at Clarity

Need support with EPR?

Our team of packaging compliance and data experts can help your business stay compliant, save time and achieve peace of mind. If you have any questions about EPR or would like to find out more about how our EPR solutions can work for your business, please reach out to us on or book an EPR consultation to discuss your needs.

    Related News & Views