The UK has released its response to the new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation. Find out what this means and how it will affect your business.
In November 2021, following the COP26 Climate Conference held in Glasgow, the UK Government announced, ‘The Environment Act’, which set out to improve air and water quality, tackle waste, improve biodiversity and make other environmental improvements. In March 2022, as a response to the latest Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes coming into force across Europe, the UK Government have set out their own EPR plans addressing one of their key aims to ‘tackle waste.’
The new Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) has come into effect starting from today, 1st April 2022, and applies to any plastic packaging manufactured in, or imported into the UK, which does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic. However, if you are a manufacturer and/or importer who produces less than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging within a 12-month period, this will not apply to you. Meanwhile, the UK Government have confirmed that plans to roll out new EPR legislation in 2023 have been delayed until 2024.
EPR affects the way in which businesses take responsibility for the environmental impact of their operations. These changes were first proposed by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in 2018, introduced as an incentive for businesses to increase the use of sustainable packaging. This was enforced through charges being administered to producers, requiring them to pay the net cost of managing materials once they become a waste product.
Reflecting on the announcement to delay the UK’s EPR roll out to 2024, Dr Angelos Katsaris, (PHD, MA (Hons), BA (Hons)), Professional Services Director and Partner at AVASK commented ‘Extended Producer Responsibility schemes will play a vital role as we move towards a more circular economy in the UK and beyond. It is vital that the e-commerce industry does all it can to reduce the impact of material extraction and use on the environment. The announcement from the UK Government, on their plans to move forward with new legislation for packaging, is welcome news. However, there is still much to be done for this scheme to be effective. Despite the delays to 2024, we have no time to waste when it comes to acting in the interest of our climate.’
What does this mean for your business?
If you have not come across the term EPR already, Extended Producer Responsibility is an environmental policy that was introduced in 1988 in Sweden. EPR requires a producer to take responsibility for the entire lifecycle for the products that they put into the market, including their disposal.
The changes to EPR, which came into force from the 1st of January 2022, have shifted the cost of collecting household waste from the taxpayer to the producer. As of the start of this year, businesses that sell in Germany and/or France, are now responsible for ensuring that they fully comply with the EPR legislation in these countries. You will find further details and information about how to remain compliant on the AVASK website. EPR – AVASK Accounting & Business Consultants (avaskgroup.com)
Finally, here are some crucial points to keep in mind:
- PPT guidance is subject to change until all legislation is approved by Parliament. We will continue to keep you updated through the AVASK Wiki
- PPT in the UK is currently separate from EPR requirements that have been introduced in Germany and France –
- The UK is on track to introduce EPR from 2024, however, this is subject to change until all consultation has been carried out by the UK Government.
If you have any questions about the new PPT legislation or EPR requirements in Europe, please contact AVASK today. You can also telephone us on: +44 (0)23 8060 0120 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.