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Fines loom for businesses yet to submit packaging data WSTA warns

Published:  10 April, 2024

The WSTA has issued a warning to hundreds of businesses ahead of May’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) deadline.

According to the trade body, a significant number of companies are yet to collect and submit packaging data from the first half of 2023, which is required to enrol in the government’s EPR scheme, effective from October 2025.

“Extended Producer Responsibility is intended to ensure that businesses that produce packaging are financially responsible for the cost of disposing of it,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA.

“The aim of the scheme is to incentivise businesses to use less packaging and to make it more recyclable,” Beale added.

The scheme is compulsory for companies that produce or use packaging and has been expanded from the 2007 regulations and includes any of the following businesses which: 

  • Supply packaged goods to the UK market under its own brand 

  • Place goods into packaging 

  • Import products in packaging 

  • Own an online marketplace 

  • Hire or loan out reusable packaging 

  • Supply empty packaging 

According to Defra, out of 5,200 businesses that have enrolled in the scheme, around 2,000 need to register data and a further 1,000 producers are yet to enrol in the Recycling Packaging Database (RPD).

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is warning that obligated businesses need to enrol and report their packaging data by 31 May 2024 to avoid fines.

“We don’t want anyone in our industry to be caught out by failing to comply with their packaging obligations. It is important that everyone puts this firmly on their to-do list before the 31 May deadline to avoid being penalised,” Beale added.

A company will need to act if its annual turnover is £1m or more and was responsible for more than 25 tonnes of packaging in 2022.

Smaller organisations with a turnover between £1m to £2m will need to record its data and begin reporting, annually, from 2025.  

Businesses can either submit data here, or employ a Compliance Scheme to do this here.