Legislation and how it will affect you

There are new regulations which will be implemented over the coming years and it is important to understand how these could affect you and your business. The Packaging Reforms feature 4 core initiatives, all annouced in early 2019

In the sections below we discus in more detail each of these topics and include references for further reading.

INTRODUCTION AND TIMESCALES

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The packaging waste regulations reform feature 4 core initiatives, all announced in early 2019

The intention is that all stakeholders become part of the movement to tackle climate change by providing increased financial incentives to drive even more innovation in packaging, even greater efficiency and an even stronger infrastructure, and all underpinned by increased consumer awareness and participation

It is important to understand how these could affect you and your business

In the sections below we discus in more detail each of these topics and include references for further reading

  • Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) will be a tax on plastic packaging produced or imported that does not contain at least 30% recycled content
  • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) will be where producers’ become financially responsible for funding the total costs associated with dealing with packaging waste
  • Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) where a deposit is to be added to beverage packaging that consumers can then claim back when they return to a recycling point
  • Consistent Collections will stipulate that all local authorities must collect at least the same basic set of recyclable materials from households and businesses
PolicyScopeExpected Start Date
Plastic Packaging Tax
(PPT)
UK WideApril 2022
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)UK WideJanuary 2023
Deposit Return
Scheme (DRS)
England, Wales, NIJanuary 2023
Consistent
Collections
EnglandJanuary 2023

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

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The UK government have released what they call ‘public consultations’ to gain stakeholder and public opinion which are then considered when shaping the regulatory outcome.

The second consultation for the UK Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was released by UK governments on 24th March 2021 and closed on 4th June 2021.

We give our understanding of the regulations so far:

What EPR hopes to achieve:

  • Greater responsibility on obligated businesses for funding the management of packaging waste
  • UK-wide scheme to incentivise businesses to go even further on recyclability across as many packaging formats as possible
  • Encourage producers to use more recyclable materials, reducing the amount of hard to recycle packaging placed on the market
  • The increase in packaging recycling from the new system is estimated to generate a carbon reduction of 4.38million tonnes between 2023 and 2032 whist simultaneously increasing the UK recycling rates for the packaging covered from 61% in 2019 to 78% in 2032

What to expect?

  • The new legislation is expected to come into effect in a phased approach from January 2023, for a short time it will run alongside the current PRN (Packaging Recovery Note) system before the PRN system is phased out by April 2024
  • Estimated cost of compliance will rise from £366m with the current PRN system to £2.7bn in 2024 with the new EPR system, costs are likely to be distributed across the entire supply chain
  • In order to encourage obligated businesses to make these improvements a modulated fee system is going to be introduced offering lower costs to packaging that adheres to the four governments’ definition of recyclable* and higher costs to packaging that does not (*packaging that can be collected and sorted for recycling, reprocessing facilities are available and a market exists for the reprocessed material)
  • It is likely that this will involve much more detailed packaging reporting to enable the introduction of modulated fees in 2024
  • There will be mandatory on-pack recyclable/not recyclable labelling on all primary and consumer delivery packaging by 2024/25

Still to be decided:

  • Scheme design and governance
  • Implementation timelines
  • Enforcement

Plastic packaging tax

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The UK government have released what they call ‘public consultations’ to gain stakeholder and public opinion which are then considered when shaping the regulatory outcome.

The second consultation for the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland ran from 11th March 2020 to 20th August 2020, it will become part of the Finance Act 2021 after Royal Assent/

What it hopes to achieve:

  • Encourage greater use of recycled plastic
  • Minimise unnecessary use of virgin materials
  • Tackle the issue of plastic becoming waste

What to expect?

  • This tax is due to come into affect on 1st April 2022
  • All plastic packaging will be liable for this tax unless it is shown to have at least 30% recycled content
  • Both pre and post consumer waste can be used to make up the 30% recycled content
  • This will apply on top of current PRN costs if you are obligated and in the future it will be on top of the producers’ EPR and DRS costs
  • Fortunately at Macpac our rPET material already contains at least 80% recycled content made up of pre-and post consumer recyclate, so all our clients who use our rPET will be unaffected by this tax (it will just mean more paperwork on our side!)

Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)

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The UK government have released what they call ‘public consultations’ to gain stakeholder and public opinion which are then considered when shaping the regulatory outcome.

The second consultations for the UK Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were released by UK governments on 24th March 2021 and closed on 4th June 2021

We give our understanding of the regulations so far:

What it hopes to achieve:

  • Change consumer behaviour and therefore increase the recycling rate of drinks containers
  • Reduce littering
  • Generate higher levels of good quality recycled materials

What to expect:

  • PET plastic bottles, glass bottles, aluminium cans and steel cans are the products in scope
  • There is the potential for material collected by the DRS system to go back to the obligated producers that are funding the system
    1. This would reduce the supply of good quality post consumer recyclate for all other non-beverage markets for the materials in scope
    2. Reduced supply could drive up costs for recycled content
    3. Could increase the need for more virgin material to keep quality high

Still to be decided:

  • How the scheme will operate
  • The scheme scope and design
  • Implementation timelines
  • Enforcement

Consistent collections

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The UK government have released what they call ‘public consultations’ to gain stakeholder and public opinion which are then considered when shaping the regulatory outcome.

The second consultation for consistent household and business recycling collections in England was released by the government on 7th May 2021 and will close on 7th July 2021

What it hopes to achieve:

  • Increasing consistency in recycling will reduce confusion in the materials that can be collected for recycling at kerbside
  • facilitate straight forward information being given to consumers through a clear binary on pack recycling labelling – recyclable or not recyclable
  • Help to make sure that less waste goes to landfill and more is recycled
  • Ultimately all of these legislative changes should lead to an increase in the use of recyclable materials and a rise in recycling

What to expect:

  • This is good news for Macpac clients as we use material that is designed to be recycled, this part of the new legislation will help the products we supply to be disposed of correctly and keep the material in the system

Still to be decided:

  • Materials to be collected as part of the dry recyclable waste streams
  • Food and garden waste collections
  • Possible exemptions
  • Topics to be included in statutory guidance for local authorities
  • Transition timelines for local authorities and businesses

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