What is Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)?

Aims and objectives of EPREPR-550-550.png

  • Producers pay the full net costs of managing and recycling the packaging waste they produce through a system of modulated fees
  • Reduce "excessive" packaging
  • Increase in packaging recyclability and reusability
  • Increase packaging recycling rates
  • Increased quality of material for recycling
  • Reduce packaging that is littered and/or ends up in street bins

FDF member?

Login or register for access to all the lastest updates and to find out how you can get involved.


Deposit Return Scheme

Find out more


Food and drink manufacturers fully support the aim to reduce the environmental impact of packaging they use and protect the planet. We have long called for reform of the packaging producer responsibility system to improve transparency and the better targeting of funds towards improving recycling infrastructure. We want to constructively engage with the UK and devolved nations governments to build an efficient and effective system that delivers good recycling outcomes for the long term whilst minimising cost to business and to consumers.

The aim of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is for producers to pay the full net costs of managing and recycling the packaging waste arising from products they place on the market. This will help to drive further circularity of packaging by reducing unnecessary and difficult to recycle packaging and increasing recycling. However taking the learnings from international best practice, there are efficient and cost-effective ways of achieving this and any new recycling schemes must be designed with that in mind.

EPR is a complex project to be delivered at scale and will place substantial new costs on the UK’s food producers much of which will get passed on to consumers.

There are also many interlinkages and interdependencies with the other parts of the Government’s Collection and Packaging Reforms package, namely DRS and consistent collections.  A whole systems approach is therefore needed involving correct sequencing, and cross-and inter government working and agreement if we are to achieve the whole system transformation that is needed.

The industry needs assurance that the new system will be as cost efficient and transparent as possible and that it can drive whole system change – from how companies use packaging through to how consumers engage with new recycling systems, as well as how councils manage waste collections and help to drive up recycling rates.

We do have significant concerns about the UK and devolved nations governments’ decision to make the Scheme Administrator a public body. It is FDF’s firm belief that central to achieving successful delivery of EPR, including one where costs are fully optimised, is for the Scheme Administrator to be a producer-led, not for profit body operating to a set of environmental outcomes laid down by Government but with autonomy on how these are delivered. This is the successful norm for effective EPR schemes globally and one the UK should adopt from the outset.

The UK and the devolved nations governments have shown some flexibility by removing proposals to include business waste payments in the overall EPR policy framework. In England and Northern Ireland, the obligation on industry to pay for illegal ground littering has also been removed, a decision we hope the other devolved nations will also adopt. 

Food and drink manufacturers along with other parts of the value chain intend to continue to provide their expert advice and to work with the UK and devolved governments to deliver a world leading EPR system.

Are you in scope?

You must take action to comply if the following apply:

  • you’re an individual business, subsidiary or group with a registered UK presence
  • you have an annual UK turnover of £1 million or more and you handle over 25 tonnes of obligated packaging in a calendar year
  • you carry out any of the following activities:
    • packaging own-brand products to supply to UK consumers
    • using a third party to package and supply own-brand goods to UK consumers
    • using unbranded secondary/tertiary to protect goods during transport so they can be supplied to UK consumers
    • supplying empty packaging (branded or unbranded) to a business that does not meet the Large Organisation threshold (see definition below)
    • importing goods from a brand that does not have a UK presence
    • removing packaging from imported goods
    • hiring or loaning out reusable packaging to UK third parties
    • the owner of an online marketplace facilitating the sale of packaged goods from outside the UK

What you need to do

Small organisation

If annual turnover is £1 million or more and handle 25-50 tonnes of packaging within the UK


If annual turnover is £1-2 million and handle over 50 tonnes of packaging within the UK

You are obligated to report your packaging data annually, but will not be financially obligated to contribute recycling or disposal costs.

Register your business through the RPD portal  

  • An approved person (director or company secretary listed on Companies House) must verify your account
  • Submit Jan-Dec 2024 packaging data by 1 April 2025
  • Pay a fee to the environmental regulator from 2025

Take steps to record data about all the empty packaging and packaged goods you handle and supply through the UK market.

Large organisation

If annual turnover is £2 million or more and handling more than 50 tonnes of packaging in the UK.                                                  

Register your business through the RPD portal

  • An approved person (director or company secretary listed on Companies House) must verify your account
  • buy PRNs or PERNs to meet your recycling obligations. A compliance scheme can do this on your behalf.
  • submit data (in kilograms) about empty packaging or packaged goods you handled or supplied through the UK market
  • Pay a fee to the environmental regulator from 2025
  • Pay disposal fees for household packaging, with the first bill issued in October 2025

For the period January to June 2024, submit data before 1 October 2024.

For the period July to December 2024, submit data before 1 April 2025.

Producers based in Wales can choose to submit data from the period January to December 2023 in one submission by 1 April 2024 (Subsequent years will repeat the 6 monthly cycle for all UK producers).

You will not be obligated to pay recycling and disposal fees under EPR for the data that you collect during the 2023 compliance year – the first EPR invoices will be delivered in October 2025 for the 2024 compliance year.

This means that you will need to make an additional submission between 1 January 2024 and 1 April 2024 in the style of the previous (Packaging Waste Regulations 2007) regulations, and purchase PRN’s/PERN’s in order to be compliant for 2023.

Note that the Regulations were amended so that from the 1 April 2024 DEFRA have removed the exemption on drinks containers that would have been obligated in a Scottish Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)

What you need to consider

Household and Non-Household packaging

Household packaging will incur additional disposal fees under EPR, so it is important to correctly differentiate between household and non-household packaging when reporting data.

Secondary and Tertiary packaging must be classed as non-household.

Primary and Shipment packaging must be classed as household unless:

  • You supply it to a business/public institution which is the end user of the goods or supplies goods to an end user with all packaging removed
  • The packaging is for a product only designed for business/public institution used and is not reasonably likely to be disposed of in a household or public bin
  • You are an importer and import packaging into the UK which is discarded without being supplied to anyone

You need to be able to show evidence if classing primary or shipment packaging as non-household, and you must keep this evidence for at least 7 years.


Reporting Nation Data

For any organisation that must act under EPR, you must also submit Nation data if you do any of the following:

  • supply packaging directly to customers in the UK, where they are the end user of the packaging
  • supply empty packaging to UK organisations that are either not legally obligated, or are classed as a small producer
  • hire or loan out reusable packaging
  • own an online marketplace where organisations that are based outside the UK sell their empty packaging and packaged goods to UK consumers
  • import packaged goods into the UK for your own use and discard the packaging

Nation data will need to be reported by 1 December 2024, showing where in the UK (by Nation) you have supplied packaging to an end-user. This includes packaging that you have imported and then discarded.

Organisations that have an annual turnover below £1 million and handle less than 25 tonnes of packaging in a calendar year are non-obligated, and do not need to report any data under EPR.


Mandatory Binary Labelling

Under EPR, all packaging will be required to be labelled using the ‘Recycle Now’ mark showing one of two messages: ‘Recycle’ or ‘Do Not Recycle’. DEFRA is planning on publishing its label artwork and guidance when the regulations come into force.

Mandatory binary labelling will apply to all packaging types including soft, flexible plastics from 1 April 2027.

Stock that was manufactured or imported before 1 April 2027 will not need to be withdrawn or re-packaged, however producers may need to retain proof to provide to the Regulator on request. All packaging manufactured or imported past this date must be compliant with the regulations.

There is no minimum threshold that applies as all packaging is required to be labelled. In some cases, a small organisation can purchase empty packaging that is already labelled.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) will be the organisation responsible for overseeing the labelling requirements.

Further Resources

  • Statutory Instrument and Agreed Positions:

The Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) (England) Regulations 2023

The Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) (England) Amendment Regulations 2024

pEPR Agreed Positions and Technical Interpretations, Version 3 & 4 (EA, SEPA, NIEA)

  • DEFRA’s guidance on EPR:

Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging: who is affected and what to do

Packaging data: what to collect for extended producer responsibility

Packaging data: how to create your file for extended producer responsibility

Amendments to pEPR data reporting regulations webinar

  • Obligation Checker Tool:

Check if you need to report packaging data

Demonstration of how to use the tool

  • View DEFRA’s webinar recordings which cover an overview of Collections and Packaging Reforms, EPR requirements from 1 January 2023, producer types, data submission, and more.

  • Resources and Waste Forums - hosted by DEFRA and held monthly, for all stakeholders to be kept informed about the reforms programme that includes Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), and Consistency of Collections.


Are you an FDF member?

If you are a food and drink manufacturing member login or sign up to find out how you can get invloved.

Log in

Packaging support

Our affiliate members have technical expertise in all things packaging including:






Deadline of 31 May 2024 for reporting packaging data under the new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packaging regulations

We have been asked to cascade a letter sent by senior officials from all four nation Governments reminding organisations obligated under the new EPR Regulations that they must report their 2023 packaging data to the regulator no later than 31 May 2024; beyond this date regulators may take enforcement action. Having timely and accurate data will also help to ensure that EPR reflects the true cost of managing packaging waste and that these costs are more fairly distributed between producers. Please refer to this link for the key information organisations need for submitting data. Defra is also now publishing weekly a public list of the large producers who have submitted data to date. This may help some organisations work out who is responsible for reporting data.

On 16 May FDF held a joint webinar with Defra on registration and data reporting requirements to help members and other organisations understand the requirements. The slides and recording are available here. Defra has also produced a document with links to further guidance which you may find helpful.

DEFRA Announces Head of UK EPR Packaging Scheme Administrator

Dr Margaret Bates has been appointed to the role of Head for the UK Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging Scheme Administrator. Dr Bates is the Managing Director of OPRL, the not-for-profit company which helps businesses to assess and access simple, consistent and UK-wide recycling and refill messages to appear on retailer and brand packaging. She will take up this role on secondment for up to two years.

Read the press release

DEFRA releases webinar schedule

DEFRA have released their schedule for 2024's monthly Business Readiness Forums, Local Authority Engagement Forums and Waste Management Forums.

Please follow this link if you would like to register, or to sign up to the CPR newsletter.

Amendments to Packaging EPR Reporting from 2024

The four administrations of the UK plan to lay their own amendments to each of their respective data reporting packaging Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations (‘data reporting regulations’) in the New Year. 

This article published by DEFRA covers the planned amendments to the definition of 'household packaging', plans to reduce the risk of double obligation, the updated pEPR agreed positions and confirmations to some commonly asked questions on the 2024 reporting obligations.

Webinar - EPR in France, Reporting and Labelling Obligations

The Environmental Reporting & Compliance Department of AHK France is hosting a free-to-attend webinar on the 21 November about EPR in France.

The webinar, titled Extended Producer Responsibility in France: Reporting and Labelling obligations for Products and Packaging will take place at 17:00 GMT and will cover:

  • Extended Producer Responsibility in France
  • Concerned products and packaging
  • French reporting obligations for products and packaging
  • French labelling obligations for products and packaging
  • Decree 2022-748 about environmental qualities and characteristics
  • Prevention and eco-design plans

The guest speakers will be:

  • Grischka Nissen | Consultant | Environmental Reporting and Compliance (AHK France)
  • Solveig Rist | Consultant | Environmental Reporting and Compliance (AHK France)

Please use this link to register.

Related topics

Plastics and packaging

Plastics & packaging

The UK food and drink industry relies on packaging to help protect food, prevent food waste, and contribute to wider sustainability goals.

Cans and bottles for recycling

Deposit Return Scheme

Deposit return schemes are used across the world as a way of encouraging more people to recycle drinks containers, such as bottles and cans.

wind turbines

Environmental sustainability

Our members have continued to significantly reduce carbon emissions and water consumption, as part of their commitment to reduce our environmental impact.