Defra names head of UK’s EPR packaging scheme

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has named Dr Margaret Bates as the head for the UK’s extended producer responsibility for packaging scheme – better known as EPR.

Dr Margaret Bates has been named head for the UK extended producer responsibility for packaging scheme administrator.

Currently managing director of OPRL, the not-for-profit company which helps businesses ensure packaging carries clear recycling messages, Dr Bates will be taking the new role on secondment for up to two years.

In the newly-created role, Dr Bates will be working closely with Defra and the devolved administrations to develop and implement a new administrator, which will go on to manage the delivery of the EPR scheme across the whole collection and packaging value chain.

Moving the cost of dealing with packaging waste away from the taxpayer, the EPR will legally require businesses – including retailers, suppliers and manufacturers – to fund the total cost of collecting, sorting, recycling or other disposal of all household product packaging.

“This role is a huge opportunity to act as a catalyst for the whole industry to continue to create an effective EPR, ensuring that the responsibility for dealing with packaging waste is moved fairly on to producers, while also protecting the environment,” commented Dr Bates.

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“Most of all, I hope to listen, and channel my experience of the issues facing the many varied stakeholders, to deliver a scheme that works – within the agreed timescales and with common purpose.”

Last summer, the government deferred the scheme for a year due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. As such, businesses will only need to report on their data this year, with fees not being introduced until October 2025.

However, companies will still be prosecuted if they have not submitted their 2023 data on or before 31 May 2024.

The rules also vary according to the size of the business, with exemptions for those with an annual turnover of less than £1 million and who handle less than 25 tonnes of packaging.

Circular economyMaterials and packagingNewsPolicy

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