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New packaging waste data reporting rules – what are they?

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United Kingdom

Jessica Gardner, partner in our Regulatory team, explains the new rules and what you need to do

From 1 January 2023, businesses affected by the new extended producer responsibility (EPR) rules (i.e. most businesses handling packaging in the UK) must start collecting data about the packaging they handle and supply through the UK market ahead of the scheme's launch in January 2024.
 
The data collection and reporting requirements under the EPR scheme were laid before Parliament in November 2022 and will come into force on 28 February 2023 under the ‘Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) (England) Regulations 2022’. The regulations will require producers to collect and report their packaging data from March 2023 (or from January, if they have this data).
 
The EPR scheme will overhaul the way UK organisations responsible for packaging must carry out their recycling responsibilities. To find out whether you will be caught under the new EPR rules, read our blog [link to Blog 1].
 
What data you need to collect
 
There are four key categories of data that need to be collected: (i) packaging activity; (ii) packaging material and weight; (iii) packaging type; and (iv) waste type.
 
The first step is to describe your role when you put the packaging on the UK market. You do this by breaking down your data into different 'packaging activities', as follows:
 
  • Packaging supplied under your brand
  • Packaging that is packed or filled as unbranded
  • Imported packaging
  • Packaging supplied as empty
  • Hired or loaned packaging
  • Packaging supplied through an online marketplace that you own  
The definitions of each 'packaging activity' are nuanced and require a detailed assessment on a case-by-case basis.
 
The second step is to report the weight of each individual material within your packaging, in kilograms (kg) and broken down by material type (i.e. aluminium, fibre-based composite, glass, paper or cardboard, plastic, steel, wood or ‘other’).
 
The third step is to identify your 'packaging type'. This can be primary packaging (i.e. the individual container that you store goods in to sell to consumers), secondary packaging (for grouping primary packaging for selling or displaying goods in shops), shipment packaging (for shipping single or multiple sales units directly to consumers, such as cardboard boxes and bubble wrap) and transit packaging (for grouping secondary packaging units together)
 
The final data requirement is to report on the type of waste that the packaging is likely to become when it is discarded (i.e. household waste, non-household waste, street bin waste, drinks containers, reusable, self-managed waste).  You must also submit the weight of packaging that ends up (or is likely to end up) as household waste or non-household waste.
 
Some businesses will also need to collect nation data, which is information about where the packaging has been sold, hired, loaned, gifted or discarded in the UK. 
 
When data needs to be reported
 
From July 2023, you will need to register your organisation on the EPR digital platform. 
 
Large organisations will need to report their data on the platform every six months. For the period January to June 2023, you will need to report data between July 2023 and 1 October 2023. For the period July to December 2023, you will need to report data between 1 January 2024 and 1 April 2024. 
 
Small organisations are required to report once a year (the first reporting period being between 1 January 2024 and 1 April 2024). Our blog on the new EPR rules explains the difference between small and large organisations. If the deadlines are missed, businesses may need to pay a penalty charge.
 
You can choose to meet your reporting obligations individually, or engage a Compliance Scheme to do so on your behalf. Compliance Schemes are third parties that help organisations meet their EPR requirements. If you choose to work with a Compliance Scheme, they must appear on the Environment Agency's Public Register of Compliance Schemes.
 
How your data will be used
 
A Scheme Administrator will be appointed to monitor compliance under the scheme and use your data to calculate your waste management fee. Producers will be required to pay the fees quarterly from April to March based on the packaging they placed on the market in the previous calendar year.
 
The regulator will also use your 2023 data to calculate the amount of packaging waste recycling notes (PRNs) and packaging waste export recycling notes (PERNs) you must buy to cover your recycling obligations for the 2024 calendar year.
 
If you would like to find out more about how the new EPR rules may impact your business, please get in touch with our regulatory partner, Jessica Gardner.
 

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