Following confirmation that the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme has been postponed to a 2024 rollout, Eco Flexibles has urged businesses not to take their foot off the sustainability pedal and to begin collecting vital data as soon as possible.
The business believes that the delay to EPR rollout risks downplaying the urgency, which could leave many businesses with an unwelcome surprise in 2024.
“No doubt many companies will be breathing a sigh of relief at the predicted delay of EPR rollout, but even a year out from its new 2024 launch, we must ensure we are collecting as much valuable packaging data as possible,” says Simon Buswell, Director at Eco Flexibles.
“Pushing back the start of EPR was necessary while so much of the scheme and its scope was yet to be confirmed, but we run a real risk of minimising the significance. For the EPR programme to have a positive impact and function as more than just ‘passing the buck’ on recovery, it needs to be driven by real, meaningful data. We are urging those that have not yet started collecting, managing and auditing their data collection, to begin as soon as possible.”
The EPR scheme aims to hold manufacturers and producers accountable for the lifecycle of their packaging products. Under the scheme, packaging producers will be legally responsible for the collection, recycling, and safe disposal of packaging waste generated by their products.
To fulfill these obligations, producers may be required to pay fees or contribute to a fund dedicated to managing and recycling packaging waste. Eco Flexibles advocates for a closed-loop plastic economy and champions substantial investment in recycling infrastructure as the path to a more sustainable industry.
“For many of us, the delay to EPR seemed inevitable while so much of the scope was still being debated, so a 2024 rollout doesn’t come as a surprise.” says Simon Buswell. “However, as with all sustainability legislation, we can see it as either just an obligation and cost, or as a springboard for real change. If EPR gets brands thinking more about packaging circularity and technologies such as monopolymer materials – and brings investment in vital recycling infrastructure – then it will set us on the path to a stronger industry, and that should be celebrated.”