UK government confirms EPR packaging recycling reforms delayed to 2025

The government has confirmed that is deferring its packaging recycling reforms for a year, moving the start of the new EPR (extended producer responsibility) rules from the original date of October 2024 to October 2025.

The upcoming EPR legislation – which will require manufacturers to cover the cost of collecting and recycling their packaging – has been delayed due to the ongoing cost-of-living pressures facing consumers and businesses.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has said it will use the additional year to  work with “industry, local authorities and waste management companies” as it ensures the success of the scheme and “makes sure it is best designed to deliver on long-term recycling goals while supporting households with the immediate challenge of high prices caused by inflation”.

The government department also said it still has commitments to ‘”eliminating avoidable waste by 2050 and recycle 65% of municipal waste by 2035″.

The move comes after the government said last week that it will reassess every single net zero policy to ensure that each one does not have too costly an impact on consumers.

“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,” said environment minister Rebecca Pow.

“We are also listening to industry and ensuring our work to tackle inflation and to drive up recycling go hand in hand, to make sure our reforms will be a success.”

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Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN) chief executive said: “UK and devolved ministers are making the right set of decisions at this time to drive forward the shaping of collections and packaging reforms.”

“Ensuring overall systems efficiency cost effectiveness and high recycling performance are essentials for the governments and stakeholders to achieve together.”

The EPR delay has also been welcomed by retailers who say that the scheme was not ready and would push costs on to consumers. Sainsbury’s CEO Simon Roberts said: “While we remain absolutely committed to a circular economy and support the introduction of EPR, we welcome today’s announcement. This will provide the necessary time to work across our industry and with Government in order to get EPR right first time.”

“This decision is also an important step in minimising further pressure on food inflation and we will continue to focus on delivering the best value to customers in the coming months.”

The Deposit Return Scheme, which will see consumers charged for the bottle or can a drink comes in and then receive their money back when they return the item, has also faced delays in Scotland and England and Wales – with the scheme now expecting to start in 2025.

Circular economyMaterials and packagingNews

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