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

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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.

1 January 2023 take steps to record data about all the empty packaging and packaged goods you handle and supply through the UK market.

Register your business through the RPD portal from August 2023  

  • An approved person (director or company secretary listed on Companies House) must verify your account
  • submit data about empty packaging and packaged goods you handled or supplied through the UK market by 1 April 2024
  • Pay a fee to the environmental regulator from 2025


Large organisation

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

1 January 2023 take steps to record data about all the packaging that you are obligated to report that remains within the UK.

Register your business through the RPD portal from August 2023

  • 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

Please follow this link to view new guidance on how to assess household and non-household packaging for EPR.

For the period January to June 2023, submit data before 1 October 2023.

For the period July to December 2023, submit data between 1 January 2024 and 1 April 2024.

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

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’

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.

All packaging except for plastic films and flexibles will be required to be labelled by 31 March 2026.

Plastic films and flexibles will be required to be labelled by 31 March 2027.

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

Further Resources

  • Statutory Instrument:

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

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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Business Readiness Forum - a newly created platform, hosted by Defra and held fortnightly, 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. It also covers progress on the Waste Reforms Visioning Sprints. 


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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.

DEFRA – Closed Loop Recycling Survey

Following DEFRA's consultation on the draft producer responsibility (packaging and packaging waste) regulations, the Government is considering a narrow expansion to offsetting provisions to allow producers operating 'closed loop' recycling systems to offset against their household disposal fee obligations.

DEFRA have released a survey on closed-loop recycling asking for opinions from affected businesses and stakeholders, closing on Thursday 16 October. The survey will look to capture how different closed-loop recycling models work, as well as any specific concerns that they may need to address.

There is a virtual workshop on Monday 20 November at 1:30pm to discuss closed-loop recycling in detail.

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