Alarm as packaging consultation predicts £2.7bn EPR cost

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

The EPR consultation looks at how packaging producers will pay the full cost of managing packaging once it becomes waste
The EPR consultation looks at how packaging producers will pay the full cost of managing packaging once it becomes waste

Related tags Supply chain Packaging & labelling

The predicted £2.7bn costs of extended producer responsibility (EPR) for post-consumer packaging waste would undermine industry investment to make packaging more eco-friendly, according to one trade body responding to the Government's EPR consultation.

The consultation was launched on 24 March this year and will run until 11.59pm on 4 June. EPR puts the responsibility for packaging and packaging waste, including the costs for green packaging design and disposal squarely on the shoulders of producers.

Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging

The Government review launch page​ states:

"Following strong support, Government committed to introduce packaging Extended Producer Responsibility following a further consultation.

"This second consultation focuses on specific policy proposals for its introduction, including the scope of full net costs, producer obligations, scheme governance, regulation of the scheme, and packaging waste recycling targets.

"The proposals set out in this consultation document work together to create a scheme that incentivises producers to design packaging that is easy to recycle and ensure that they pay the full net cost of managing this packaging once it becomes waste. This is in line with the polluter-pays principle."

“While FDF​ [Food and Drink Federation] and its members have long called for much needed reform to the EPR system, we have warned Government any changes to the system would need to be achieved in a manner that would not result in inflationary costs for businesses or consumers,"​ said David Bellamy, FDF senior environment policy manager. 

“Previously, the estimated cost to industry was £1.5bn, which has now increased drastically to £2.7bn. The revised figures outlined in the impact assessment place the burden of this financial responsibility firmly on food and drink manufacturers along with other brand owners. 

“Food and drink manufacturers want to be accountable for the packaging they place on the market and an effective and cost-efficient system has the potential to be an enabler for increased investment in recycling infrastructure.

"However this level of cost will have a wholly prohibitive impact on driving forward the investments needed in packaging design and innovation to increase recyclability and lead to other improved environmental outcomes.

"It is clear a greater level of collaboration between government and industry stakeholders is needed in order to highlight the complexities involved in wider packaging reforms and to protect the financial sustainability of business.”

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