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DEFRA have delayed the introduction of its planned Extended Producer Responsibility reform, which had been set to be phased in from 2023. This decision was made after considering feedback from many stakeholders involved throughout the last consultation (which closed in 2021), highlighting concerns of insufficient time for businesses to prepare for the new, more in-depth data reporting requirements along side the lack of appointment of a scheme administrator. Both of these factors are crucial in the future success of EPR, so it essential that EPR be introduced once these issues are overcome.
There is currently no timeline for the introduction of the EPR system, however, DEFRA are in the final approval stage following the open consultation, so we await to see the release of their response within the coming weeks. This does of course mean that the current Producer Responsibility system will be in effect for 2023, with recycling targets expected to be published later in the year.
As a reminder, Extended Producer Responsibility aims to place the full net costs for the collection, sorting, recycling and disposal of packaging waste upon producers (currently ~10%), so this may be a welcome delay for obligated producers, to allow more time to understand their potential liability and to get their data into the expected reporting format and perhaps even mitigate any likely increase in costs.