A study by OPRL and Packaging News, with input from Defra, indicates that as many as a third of packaging producers in the UK are not aware of their obligations in relation to the new Extended Producer Responsibility rules, which will become law in 2024.
Under EPR rules, all packaging must be labelled to show consumers whether it is collected and recycled, and whether there is an end market for it. The government has proposed a single label design based on the same Recycle Now swoosh currently used by OPRL. All packaging types, except for plastic films and flexibles, will be required to be labelled by 31 March 2026. Plastic films and flexibles must be labelled by 31 March 2027.
The aim of EPR for packaging is to incentivise more sustainable packaging design. With 59 per cent of those surveyed agreeing that EPR is a “real game-changer for the UK packaging industry”, and 56 per cent saying it will “radically alter the way packaging is designed”, the report gave encouraging signs that EPR will act as an effective driver, according to OPRL.
The survey, which was published in January 2023, surveyed 219 Packaging News subscribers.