Defra lay upcoming EPR data regulation amendments in parliament

The packaging EPR regulations are set to be updated and the changes will apply when packaging placed on the market in 2024 is first reported by large organisations in the second half of the year. Understand what will be changing.

On the 17 January The Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2024 were laid in Parliament. This is the second time these regulations will be amended since they were first passed in February 2023. 

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will in turn bring these amending regulations to their respective parliaments. The regulations will be debated in parliament and are scheduled to be in force by 1 April 2024. 

The proposed amendments both modify and clarify some key issues raised by industry around EPR described below. The draft amendments state, subject to them being passed by the 1 April, that they will apply to packaging placed on the market in the first half of 2024, that is submitted to the regulators by the deadline of 1 October 2024 by large organisations. The updates described below do not impact any data submissions relating to packaging placed on the market in 2023.  

The new updates will include the topics below. 

Definition of household packaging 

Currently, all primary and shipment packaging must be classified as household packaging – and is therefore eligible for EPR waste management fees – unless the obligated producer holds evidence a direct business customer has disposed of it.  

The amendments extend packaging disposed of to a business customer to include public institutions, such as hospitals or schools. It also excludes primary/shipment packaging from the definition of ‘household packaging’ if it is “designed only for use by a business or a public institution” and is “not reasonably likely to be disposed of in a household bin or public bin”.  

Drinks containers  

A fuller definition of ‘drinks container’ will be added to the regulations. It will mean any PET, glass, steel or aluminium container between 50ML and 3L in volume that are designed to be air/water tight and not ‘conceived, designed or marketed’ to be refilled/reused. This means effectively that reusable drinks container systems will be exempt from DRS.  

Additionally, drinks containers in scope of the Scottish Deposit Return Scheme – previously set to be implemented in August 2023 – will no longer be exempt from EPR reporting so are obligated like all other drinks containers.  

Packaging manufacturers 

The obligation for brand-owners to pick up the obligation on empty packaging when filled will be limited to the brand relating to the product, not the packaging. This is to avoid obligated packaging manufacturers, who put a small logo on the packaging they sell, as ‘brand owners’. The intention is that manufacturers are only obligated under the ‘distributor’ activity, when selling empty packaging to small producers.  

The  amended data regulations discussed above are currently in force alongside the 2007 ‘PRN regulations’. This means obligated producers are currently legally required to collect packaging data under EPR, whilst also complying with the PRN system as usual. The ‘main EPR’ regulations, which will revoke and replace the EPR data and PRN regulations, are set to be passed in parliament by the end of 2024 and will also include a PRN obligation.  

The environmental regulators are obliged to provide guidance on the above. We expect the EA and the other regulators to provide more information on, for instance, the definition of household packaging in due course. 

Keeping you updated

These changes are not yet confirmed. When they come into effect, we will be in touch with our members and will update our knowledge articles on the Ecosurety Hub – available free to Ecosurety members. If you have questions in the meantime, please contact your Account Manager, or email info@ecosurety.com. 

Written by Louisa Goodfellow Published 23/01/2024 Topics Compliance
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