Packaging Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

EPR is the most significant reform to the producer responsibility system for packaging in over 20 years. But what is it, why does it matter, and how can Evelyn Partners help you follow the regulations? 

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Jayne Harrold
Published: 24 Aug 2023 Updated: 24 Aug 2023
Business tax Tax

EPR will require producers to take responsibility for the packaging they supply by shifting the cost of collection, recycling and disposal of packaging onto businesses that place products on the UK market. The aim is to provide a financial incentive for producers to reduce the amount of packaging they supply and to improve the recyclability of their packaging.

There are three key requirements associated with the reform:

  1. Register under the EPR scheme;
  2. Significant new data reporting requirements from 1 January 2023; and
  3. Payment of new EPR fees which are projected to be significantly higher than existing packaging fees.

The first EPR reporting window is currently open, with reports due to be filed with the regulator by 1 October 2023.  

Who is affected by EPR?

Businesses are affected by EPR and need to collect and report packaging data if they:

  • are an individual business, subsidiary or group (but not a charity);
  • have an annual turnover of £1m or more;
  • handled more than 25 tonnes of packaging in 2022; and
  • conduct any of the following packaging activities:
    • supply packaging goods to the UK market under your own brand;
    • place goods into packaging that’s unbranded when it is supplied;
    • import products in packaging;
    • own an online marketplace;
    • hire or loan out reusable packaging; or
    • supply empty packaging.

Businesses that pay or license another company to do any of the following in the UK may also be affected:

  • produce goods that will be sold under your brand name;
  • pack goods that will be sold under your brand name;
  • place your branded goods on the UK market; or
  • import goods for you.

Small or large producers

What you need to do to follow EPR depends on whether you are a small or large producer.

You are a small producer if:

  • you have turnover of £1m or more;
  • you were responsible for supplying or importing more than 25 tonnes of empty packaging or packaging on goods in the UK in 2022; and
  • you don’t meet the large producer tests.

You are a large producer if:

  • you have turnover of £2m or more;
  • you were responsible for supplying or importing more than 50 tonnes of empty packaging or packaging on goods in the UK in 2022.

What do you need to do?

Large producers are those who need to be taking action first as the first reporting window for the period 1 January to 30 June 2023 is currently open, with reports due by 1 October 2023.

As a large producer you need to:

  • record data about the packaging you handle (see data reporting requirements below);
  • create an account for your organisation from 1 July 2023 (which most businesses do through a compliance scheme);
  • pay a waste management fee;
  • pay scheme administrator costs;
  • pay a charge to the environmental regulator;
  • continue to get packaging recovery notes (PRNs) or packaging export recovery notes (PERNs) to meet your recycling obligations as per existing requirements; and
  • report data about the packaging you handle every 6 months:
    • for the period January to June 2023, data needs to be reported by 1 October 2023; and
    • for the period July to December 2023, data needs to be reported by 1 April 2024.

Due to concerns about the cost to affected businesses, the payment of waste management fees has been further deferred to October 2025, but the reporting requirements have not been deferred and still need to be met.

Small producers will be new to packaging reporting as only large producers have been subject to packaging regulations to date.  You will need to:

  • record data about the packaging you handle (see data reporting requirements below);
  • create an account for your organisation from January 2024;
  • pay a charge to the environmental regulator from 2024; and
  • report data about the packaging you handle every 12 months, with the first reporting period being the 2023 calendar year and the report is due by 1 April 2024.

Data reporting requirements

The new data reporting requirements, which need to be met by large producers by 1 October, are significantly more complex than earlier packaging reporting requirements.

The following data points need to be reported in a standard data file for all packaging you handle with a separate row for each packaging activity and each type of packaging you need to report:

  • organisation ID;
  • subsidiary ID;
  • organisation size (small or large producer);
  • packaging activity (under the new packaging activity types);
  • packaging type (a new requirement including designation of household/ non-household and a number of other types of waste);
  • packaging class (expanded classes including primary, secondary, shipment, tertiary and a number of other classes);
  • packaging material (material types are slightly changed from earlier requirements and include a requirement to report fibre composite materials);
  • packaging material subtype (to be used where packaging material is classed as “other”);
  • From (the country in the UK that the packaging waste originates from, only applies for certain types of waste);
  • To (the country in the UK that the packaging waste is sent to, only applies to certain types of waste currently but will be extended later);
  • Packaging material weight; and
  • Packaging material quantity (to be used for drinks containers only).

How can Evelyn Partners help?

Our environmental tax team is experienced in dealing with packaging taxes, levies and reporting. We can help you review your operations to identify any EPR requirements you need to follow. We can work together with our technology team to help you with data gathering from multiple sources and data analysis to get ready for reporting.

Approval code: NTAJ14082352

By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. This briefing does not constitute advice nor a recommendation relating to the acquisition or disposal of investments. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication.

Tax legislation

Tax legislation is that prevailing at the time, is subject to change without notice and depends on individual circumstances. You should always seek appropriate tax advice before making decisions. HMRC Tax Year 2023/24.