How will the new proposals for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) affect businesses which supply and use packaging?

Q

How will the new proposals for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) affect businesses which supply and use packaging?

A

Businesses which manufacture packaging or supply it to their customers — such as most major retailers — already have a duty to fund the recycling of packaging under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007, as amended (see our Packaging Waste topic for more details). The aim of this legislation is to increase the amount of packaging recycled, thus meeting national targets, and encourage the use of recyclable and reusable packaging.

While the Producer Responsibility (PR) scheme has succeeded in meeting official recycling targets, the general consensus is that it does not go far enough. The well-publicised example of takeaway coffee cups demonstrates that PR did not create an effective incentive to reduce, reuse and recycle consumer packaging waste. The Government estimates that less than a 10th of the costs of managing household packaging waste is covered by producers. The rest of this cost is met by local authorities (and by implication, council taxpayers) for whom recycling may not be the top priority in a time of austerity.

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