February 2024

Packaging EPR

We consider the new draft Packaging Data Reporting (England) (Amendment) Regulations which are currently laid before Parliament, which if implemented, will provide a new definition of household packaging.

As you are aware, Producers will be required to pay Local Authority Disposal Fees in 2025/ 2026 as to be advised by Defra, for any household packaging that they have placed on the market in 2024. Under the current Data Reporting Statutory Instrument, all primary and shipment packaging is classed as household packaging unless there is evidence that it is supplied directly to a business end-user. Under this definition, packaging associated with B2B products that are supplied to a distributor rather than an end-user are classed as household, even if the packaging would never enter the household waste stream.

The amendment Regulations, which are currently being debated by Parliament and scheduled to come into force on 1st April 2024, address this failing in that they extend the circumstances in which primary and shipment packaging is not classed as household to include:

  • Packaging supplied directly to end-users that are either businesses or public institutions such as a school or Government department; or
  • Packaging for a product, where the product is designed only for use by a business or a public institution, and where the packaging is not reasonably likely to be disposed of in a household bin or a public bin (this can apply to both filled and unfilled packaging); or
  • Packaging imported into the United Kingdom by an importer and discarded in the United Kingdom by that importer.

Where either of the first two scenarios above apply, evidence must be maintained to demonstrate this. The draft Regulations require the Environment Agency to produce guidance on these evidence requirements, which for the second scenario can take into account factors such as the size and weight of the packaging, whether the product it contains is likely to be used by a business in a household and how available a product or its packaging is to consumers.

Whilst Defra have yet to publish EPR “base fees” (their estimation of the disposal fees which producers of household packaging will incur in 2025/2026 for packaging placed on the market in 2024), it is important to note that this new definition is likely to significantly reduce the quantity of packaging that will be reported as household in 2024 compared with 2023. Many producers reported their 2023 data in concurrence with the default position that all primary and shipment packaging is household, since disposal fees did not apply for packaging supplied in that year and evidence of direct customer discarding packaging could not be obtained in the time available. We hope that Defra will publish the assumptions they have applied when estimating the base fees, so it is clear whether the definition changes have been considered. If the changes in definition have not been considered, it is likely that the base fees will underestimate the costs that producers of household packaging will incur.

 

Other changes include:

  • With respect to imported packaging, a producer can either be the importer, or the first UK owner. The first UK owner would be the producer for example, where imported packaging is pack/filled in the UK on behalf of a person that isn’t established in the UK.

Persons are only classed as undertaking a relevant producer function if they are established in the UK.

  • With respect to seller producers (responsible for nation reporting), reference to “consumers” is replaced by “final users” so it is clear that the obligations apply to all packaging discarded by their customers.
  • The arrangements for drinks containers placed on the market in Scotland are amended to reflect that the implementation date for the Scottish Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is now aligned to that of the English, Welsh and Northern Ireland schemes.

 

We recap on the pending reform of the waste exemption system in England and Wales to remind producers storing and treating WEEE and / or batteries under these exemptions to prepare for the changes.

As we reported in our January 2024 newsletter, changes to the requirements for organisations storing their waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in England under a S2 exemption (storage of waste in a secure place) have been implemented. Further changes to this exemption and in addition, the S1 exemption (storage of waste in containers), will be implemented in future in England and Wales as part of Government’s plans to address waste crime. We recap on the changes to be implemented as a consequence of the waste crime consultation outcome, which is available here.

Producers storing their own waste and retailers receiving WEEE and batteries back from consumers will not be affected by the reforms if they operate under Non-Waste Framework Directive (NWFD) exemptions. These enable small quantities of waste to be stored for short periods of time without a registered exemption or permit and apply to producers storing their own waste at the site of production (NWFD 2), producers storing their waste at a location that they control (NWFD 3), and storage of waste at a collection point (NWFD 4). As part of the reforms, the storage limits for waste at a site controlled by the producer and at a collection point will increase from 50m3 to 100m3.

The changes will take effect 12 months after the Environmental Permitting Regulations have been amended.

Government has published a helpful annex which provides the current conditions for each exemption that is to change and the future conditions, at Reforming Waste Exemptions: Annexure (publishing.service.gov.uk). The key changes affecting WEEE and waste battery storage are detailed below:

We expect that the reduction in storage capacity and the lower annual tonnage limit of the reformed S2 exemption will affect some REPIC members. Some sites may be able to operate under a NWFD exemption as a consequence of these storage limits increasing, however, others may need an environmental permit.

The reforms also implement new record keeping requirements; records of the wastes received and the site throughput will be required to be retained in electronic format.

Please contact Laura Crehan (lcrehan@repic.co.uk) if you need any help in understanding how the changes will impact your business.

As we advised in REP-INF-1098 and our January 2024 newsletter, Government has commenced a ten-week consultation on changes to the WEEE Regulations and a call for evidence on areas where further changes may be beneficial, however, there is currently insufficient information to advise policy.

The proposed changes will significantly affect the financing obligations of producers. To help us form our response we will shortly be requesting your input on specific areas of the consultation that producers are best placed to advise on, such as eco-modulation and the take-back of appliances. We strongly encourage you to take this important opportunity to input to Government, both by providing information to assist REPIC’s response and through responding directly.

 

2024 WEEE Targets

We understand that Defra will consult on setting UK WEEE collection targets for 2024 shortly. It is critical that targets are set at the correct level to enable proper functioning of the UK WEEE system and so that producers financing obligations are set at a level aligned to likely WEEE arisings. Defra always appreciates receipt of evidence on likely EEE and WEEE trends in the forthcoming year. Please provide information on expected market trends with respect to EEE placed on the UK market or factors that may affect consumer WEEE disposal patterns in 2024, to Mark Frakes (mfrakes@repic.co.uk) by Friday 16th February 2024.

 

Packaging EPR

The deadline for you to provide us with your 1st July to 31st December 2023 packaging EPR data if you require our help in completing the data form, is 15th February 2024. If you only require us to undertake a high-level review of your data and are confident that you can complete the data form yourself, the deadline for submission is 28th February 2024.
As 2023 is a dual reporting year, you also need to compile your 2023 Packaging Waste Regulation data. The deadline for submission of this is 28th February 2024.

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