Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme deferred for a year until October 2025

After consulting with the industry and acknowledging the financial strain on consumers and businesses during the current economic climate, the implementation of new regulations requiring packaging producers to cover recycling costs will be postponed by a year from October 2024 to 2025.

The Government will utilise this extra time to collaborate further with the industry and find ways to decrease implementation expenses. As a result of the upcoming Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), producers have already begun utilising less packaging and more straightforward, more recyclable packaging formats, and we anticipate this trend will persist to prevent households from incurring any additional expenses.

The decision to postpone payments to producers has been made in collaboration with the devolved administrations. This will allow the industry, local authorities, and waste management companies more time to prepare for the scheme’s success. It aims to achieve long-term recycling targets while assisting households in dealing with high prices due to inflation.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We’re determined to transform the way we collect, recycle and reuse our waste materials so we eliminate all avoidable waste by 2050 in a way that works for households and consumers. That’s better for our environment.

“We are also listening to industry and ensuring our work to tackle inflation and drive up recycling go hand in hand to ensure our reforms will succeed.”

Reacting to the news, Lee Marshall, Policy and External Affairs Director at the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), said: “After raising our concerns directly with the Prime Minister in June, CIWM is disappointed to learn that EPR for packaging fees have been deferred for a year. We believe this delay will have a significant impact, resulting in the public continuing to bear the cost of packaging recycling and disposal, less investment in recycling infrastructure due to a loss of confidence in the legislative framework, and a significant slowing of the UK’s green economy.

“Today, we reiterate our call for the Government to press ahead with executing the reforms on EPR and consistent collections. The sector is ready, willing and able to implement them and bring about the step-change in recycling rates that they are designed to deliver. This is a valuable opportunity for the UK to show strong leadership and demonstrate its commitment to lead in combatting climate change.”

The Government remains committed to delivering on its commitments to eliminating avoidable waste by 2050 and recycle 65% of municipal waste by 2035.

The Extended Producer Responsibility scheme will be central to delivering that mission. It will build on other measures, including the tax on plastic packaging, which does not meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content, which came into force last April, and the upcoming bans on countless single-use plastic items, including cutlery and plates.

Consistent household recycling collections will come in after the Extended Producer Responsibility scheme is implemented.

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