The industry uses plastics and other packaging materials primarily to protect products across the supply chain and ensure they reach the consumer in a safe and optimal condition; packaging therefore also plays an important role in preventing food waste and contributing to the sustainability of the whole supply chain.

The FDF and its members acknowledge their share of responsibility for the impact of packaging on the environment, alongside our value chain partners and stakeholders. A key example is when packaging finds its way into the environment as litter rather than being disposed of responsibly and kept in the circular economy through recycling.

The FDF is a founding signatory of the UK Plastics Pact, bringing together the entire plastics value chain under one ambitious set of targets. We are fully committed to working with our value chain, Governments, and consumers on reform of the recycling system in the UK and to building a truly circular economy for food and drink packaging.

Updates & milestones

Have your voice heard on designing the usability of the new packaging EPR system – join Defra’s user research panel

The Department for Environmental Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) are currently recruiting representatives from business, trade associations, compliances schemes and packaging experts to join a research panel to help shape the IT and communications services that will underpin the implementation of the new packaging EPR system, particularly in relation to data reporting, and to widen understanding of the requirements.  This feedback will help Defra make these services easier to use and clearer on the data required. If selected the time commitment required is expected to be around 1 hour every 6 months.

Defra are also keen to recruit to the Panel those smaller businesses (between £1m and less than £2m annual turnover and between 25 and less than 50 million tonnes packaging placed on the market annually) with the new data reporting obligation  to help understand how they intend to discharge this obligation (eg through use of compliance schemes), assess level of awareness etc. Defra would like to include in this businesses that may be approaching the lower turnover threshold ie with current turnovers of £750,000 or above. NB To be obligated businesses need to exceed both the turnover and tonnage thresholds.

Follow this link to sign up for the panel:

Preparing for packaging Extended Producer Responsibility – Government publishes guidance on what producers need to do

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) aims to reduce the amount of unnecessary and difficult to recycle packaging and increase the amount of packaging that can and is recycled through reforms to the packaging producer responsibility regulations.

It also proposes that the full net costs of managing packaging waste are placed on those businesses who use packaging and who are best placed to influence its design. This is consistent with the polluter pays principle and the concept of extended producer responsibility.

Following publication of the EPR consultation response the Government has published guidance for obligated businesses on preparing for EPR including the data submission requirements.

The regulations will apply to all UK organisations that handle and supply packaging in excess of the de minimis thresholds set out in the section below.

Obligated businesses will need to collect and submit the correct data for packaging placed on the market from 1 January 2023.

 Scope of the regulations

You must take action to comply if all the following apply:

  • you’re an individual business, subsidiary, or group (but not a charity)
  • you have an annual turnover of £1 million or more (based on your most recent annual accounts) and
  • you’re responsible for supplying through the UK market over 25 tonnes of packaging in a calendar year (January to December)
  • you carry out any of the packaging activities listed (please refer to the guidance for the activities in scope)

Packaging data collection and submission requirements

The steps that need to be taken will depend on annual turnover and how much packaging is handled and supplied each year (small / large organisation classification).

Small organisations (based on the most recent annual accounts - annual t/o between £1m - £2m and responsible for >25m tonnes of packaging; or annual t/o >£1m and responsible for 25-50 tonnes of packaging) will need to:

  • record data about all the empty packaging and packaged goods you handle and supply through the UK market from 1 January 2023
  • register for the EPR for packaging online service (registration opens in 2024)
  • submit data annually about empty packaging and packaged goods you handled or supplied through the UK market throughout 2023 (for the period January to December 2023, submit data between 1 January 2024 and 1 April 2024
  • pay an annual fee to the environmental regulator

Large organisations (based on the most recent annual accounts - annual turnover of £2 million or more and handling and supplying more than 50 tonnes of empty packaging or packaged goods in the UK) will need to:

  • record data about all the empty packaging and packaged goods you handle and supply through the UK market from 1 January 2023
  • register for the EPR for packaging online service from April 2023
  • pay a fee to the environmental regulator
  • buy PRNs or PERNsto meet your recycling obligations
  • submit data every six months about empty packaging and packaged goods you handled or supplied through the UK market

(for the period January to June 2023, submit data between 1 July 2023 and 1 October 2023; for the period July to December 2023, submit data between 1 January 2024 and 1 April 2024)

  • for any packaging you handle and supply that is collected by local authorities from households or street bins, from April 2024 you must pay the scheme administrator a fee and a waste management fee.

Data submissions must include the weight of:

  • individual materials in the packaging you handle and supply
  • materials used in your ‘primary’, ‘secondary’ and ‘transit’ packaging
  • packaging likely to become household or non-household waste (NB without such data the Scheme Administrator will treat all primary packaging as household waste)
  • packaging likely to end up in street bins

You can use a compliance scheme to complete certain steps on your behalf. If you miss the deadline, you may need to pay a penalty charge.

Nation data

If you sell packaged goods direct to consumers or empty packaging in the UK, you may also need to submit ‘nation data’ – subject to the criteria set out in the guidance (nation data is information about which country in the UK your packaging has been sold, hired, or loaned in). You must submit your nation data for the 2023 calendar year by 1 December 2024.

The full text of the Government’s EPR guidance can be found here.

For more information, please contact Sabina.

Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT): Resources on packaging in scope and liability to register

HMRC have shared with us resources to help businesses prepare for the PPT.

Please review this decision tree to check if your plastic packaging is in scope of the PPT and this guidance to check if you are liable and need to register for the PPT.

Date for return of the Environment Bill confirmed

It has been confirmed that the Environment Bill will return to Parliament on 26 May to finish Commons Report stages, before proceeding to the Lords.

Packaging consultations update

On 24 March the UK Governments published the following packaging consultations with a deadline for comment of 4 June 2021:

Packaging and packaging waste: introducing Extended Producer Responsibility

Introduction of a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

The Consistency of Recycling Collections consultation (England only) will be published in due course, which Defra hope will be over the next few weeks.

We will be developing a project plan for responding to the consultations and sharing this with members shortly.


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