The labelling requirements for extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging will be introduced as part of a UK-wide statutory instrument later in 2023. The department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) set out the plans during its second business readiness forum in January 2023. The forums are intended to allow industry to discuss Defra’s collection and packaging reforms and delivery projects.
Sustainability is high on the agenda for the UK as it works towards its eco-friendly goals. One of the most important new regulations is the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) EPR for packaging waste. It is changing the way UK businesses responsible for packaging carry out their recycling, with a new onus on reporting packaging data. This means beauty businesses must take steps to record data about all the empty packaging and packaged goods they handle and supply throughout the UK.
“The rules have been brought in to get people to start building waste management into their business models,” says Victoria Brownlie, Chief Policy Officer of the British Beauty Council. “It is to get companies to look at the recycling potential of the packaging they are creating and to go through the correct routes to ensure it is recycled in the proper way. Or, they will essentially have to pay a tax for waste management.”
The regulations will apply to all UK organisations that import or supply packaging. You need to collect and report packaging data 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 were responsible for more than 25 tonnes of packaging in 2022
- you carry out any of the packaging activities
You may need to act if you do any of the following:
- supply packaged goods to the UK market under your own brand
- place goods into packaging that’s unbranded when it’s supplied
- import products in packaging
- own an online marketplace
- hire or loan out reusable packaging
- supply empty packaging
Some organisations that supply packaged goods to the UK market need to report ‘nation data’. You may need to take action if packaged goods labelled with your own brand are supplied to the UK market. A brand includes any of the following:
- a name
- a trademark
- any distinguishing mark
For example, a confectionery company manufactures and packages sweets under their own brand. It sells these sweets to a supermarket. The supermarket goes on to sell the sweets to UK consumers. In this instance, the confectionery company may need to take action. However, the confectionery company would not need to take action if it produced and packaged sweets under the supermarket’s brand, which the supermarket then sold. In this instance, the supermarket may need to take action.
You may also need to take action if you pay or license another company to do any of the following for you:
- produce goods that will be sold under your brand name
- pack goods that will be sold under your brand name
- place your branded goods on the UK market
- import goods for you
You may need to take action if your organisation imports products from outside the UK that are in packaging and goes on to supply these products to the UK market. You may need to take action even if you discard packaging before selling the goods. You do not need to take action if you import filled packaging that is:
- branded, and you’ve imported it on behalf of a brand owner that is established in the UK
- unbranded, and you go on to supply it to a ‘large’ organisation that applies its brand before supplying it on
Under EPR for packaging, you’re classed as carrying out the ‘owning an online marketplace’ activity if you operate a website or app that allows non-UK businesses to sell their goods into the UK. If you own an online marketplace, you may need to take action. If your organisation owns a website or app that sells goods from UK organisations only, this is not classed as carrying out the ‘owning an online marketplace’ activity. However, you should check if you carry out any of the other packaging activities.
If you hire or loan out reusable packaging, you may need to take action. For example, some organisations hire or loan out wooden pallets to other organisations for transporting goods. The wooden pallets are returned after use and loaned out again. You may need to take action if you manufacture or import empty packaging and then supply it to a business that is not classed as a large organisation.
Packaging is any material that is used to cover or protect goods that are sold to consumers. It makes handling and delivering goods easier and safer. It also includes anything that’s designed to be filled at the point of sale, such as a coffee cup. Packaging also makes goods look appealing for sale and may display a company’s logo or brand. ‘Goods’ could include raw materials or manufactured items.
What you may need to do
You may need to:
- collect and report data on the packaging you supply or import
- pay a waste management fee
- pay scheme administrator costs
- pay a charge to the environmental regulator
- get packaging waste recycling notes (PRNs) or packaging waste export recycling notes (PERNs) to meet your recycling obligations
- report information about which nation in the UK packaging is supplied in and which nation in the UK packaging is discarded in – this is called ‘nation data’
What you need to do depends on whether you’re classed as a ‘small’ or ‘large’ organisation. This is based on:
- your annual turnover
- how much packaging you supply or import each year
When to collect and report your data for 2023
If you have all the required data recorded from 1 January 2023, you should report this data. If you do not have all the required data recorded from 1 January, you must report all of your data from 1 March 2023. If you report data that covers a period starting from 1 March, this will be used to calculate a full year’s worth of data.
Large organisations in Wales should comply with this reporting schedule if they have the required data. If they do not have the required data, they should start collecting data from the date the regulations come into force in Wales in mid-2023, and submit it between 1 January 2024 and 1 April 2024.
Small organisations in Wales should comply with this reporting schedule if they have the required data. If they do not have the required data, they should start collecting data from the date the regulations come into force in Wales from mid-2023, and submit it between 1 January 2024 and 1 April 2024.
Ecosurety is providing packaging producers in the UK access to a ‘knowledge hub’ to help with new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) requirements. The free trial to the Ecosurety Hub website includes access to a range of in-depth digestible knowledge articles, bite-sized videos, and live webinar recordings to help all UK packaging producers to understand the complex new EPR legislation. Given confusion expressed by packaging producers throughout the UK, Ecosurety decided to provide the resource for free to all producers and not just memebrs, for a limited period.
New packaging EPR requirements began on 1 January 2023 and impact all UK organisations handling or supplying packaging. Obligated organisations are required to collect detailed data about their packaging throughout the calendar year, and depending on their size, may also face extensive financial obligations. The first data reporting deadline for large organisations is October this year.
The new EPR measures are set to raise system costs from several million to £1.6bn, with lowered obligation thresholds; meaning thousands of previously unobligated organisations will be pulled into the system for the first time.
The hub is designed to help them to:
- Identify whether packaging EPR applies to their organisation
- Understand their liabilities, costs and data requirements
- Understand how to prepare for packaging EPR
- Get guidance on best practices for data collection
- Embed packaging EPR into their strategy
Will Ghali, chief executive of Ecosurety, said: “At Ecosurety, we understand the challenges that UK packaging producers face in complying with the new EPR requirements. The Ecosurety Hub is our contribution to helping producers to gain comprehensive knowledge essential to navigate the complex landscape of packaging EPR. Our goal is to accelerate change towards an environmentally sustainable world by supporting packaging producers to understand their obligations, achieve compliance with the new regulations, and ultimately reduce their environmental impact.”