The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 apply to businesses that handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging each year and have a turnover of over £2 million. The regulations enable the UK to achieve national targets for packaging recycling and recovery, set by the EU Packaging Directive 94/62/EC.

Businesses which supply packaging materials or packaged goods to customers are “handling” packaging. These “producers” include manufacturers of packaging materials, large retailers and businesses which supply goods via the internet. Obligated producers must arrange for a certain tonnage of packaging to be recycled on their behalf.

The easiest way to comply with the Regulations is through membership of a compliance scheme which recycles packaging on behalf of its members. It is also possible for producers to register individually rather than join a scheme.

The established EU targets apply to the years 2013–2017. The UK has its own business targets for the years up to 2020. New UK targets for the years 2025 and 2030 have been proposed in a Defra consultation document published in March 2019. The packaging regime will also undergo major changes when the new system of Extended Producer Responsibility comes into effect in 2023.

This topic enables businesses to decide whether they are subject to the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 and describes how to comply. It also details the requirements applicable to obligations of those who register individually.

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