What is Extended Producer Responsibility and why does it matter?

  Chris Williams


From January 2023, UK organizations that manage packaging must meet the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) requirements. This is a significant change, because it puts an additional obligation on organizations to collect, reuse, recycle and dispose of packaging materials.

Who needs to comply?

The government has set out all the relevant information for the EPR, including the types of organizations that must comply. These are:

  • Individual businesses, subsidiaries or groups
  • Annual turnover of £1m or more
  • Responsible for more than 25 tons of packaging in a calendar year
  • Carrying out ‘packaging activities’ as defined by the EPR

Organizations that meet all of the above criteria – apart from charities – will need to comply with the EPR.

The packaging activities include packaging own brand products to sell in the UK, using a third-party packaging supplier, using transit packaging for transportation in the UK and importing products into the UK. If you’re not sure if this applies to you, just follow the link above to check the requirements.

If you are a qualifying company, you may need to:

  • collect and submit data on the packaging you handle and supply
  • pay a waste management fee
  • buy packaging waste recycling notes (PRNs) or packaging waste export recycling notes (PERNs) to meet your recycling obligations

How can you manage compliance?

The most efficient way to make sure you can meet your EPR responsibilities is to use dedicated waste management software. This will help you to calculate your commitments, manage your reporting and give you the data you need to decide whether and how to change the packaging you use to limit the impact of EPR on your business, and to make more sustainable packaging decisions.

For example, SAP has designed software to manage these processes. And for many companies, EPR presents an opportunity to manage general waste and recycling as this type of legislation becomes embedded in supply chains. This will enable businesses to collaborate, connect and share processes and data with a full range of stakeholders.

Reporting is key to EPR compliance. Businesses will need to show that they are meeting requirements, and they may also need to work with both suppliers and customers to demonstrate they are taking the right actions and complying with this – and other – legislation.

Stay up to date with legislative changes

We’ll be posting regularly about legislation that waste and recycling companies – and other businesses – need to meet. For EPR, there is a range of timescales for compliance, dependent on where you are based in the UK, and a raft of other legislation either coming in soon, or being drafted. So businesses need to stay up to date, and ensure that they have the software and processes in place to continue to comply.

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