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WSTA issues package recycling paperwork warning

Hundreds of UK companies who qualify are yet to complete Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) paperwork, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WTSA) has warned.

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The WSTA is calling on businesses who have not collected and submitted packaging data, from the first half of 2023, to act swiftly or risk facing financial penalties.

UK businesses who produce or use packaging are required to enrol in the Government’s EPR scheme to improve recycling and reduce the amount of packaging waste.

According to Defra, out of 5,200 businesses that have enrolled in the scheme, around 2000 of them have not registered their data. A further 1,000 producers are still to enrol in the Recycling Packaging Database (RPD).

The government has warned that obligated businesses need to enrol and report their packaging data by 31 May 2024 to avoid being fined.

It follows the scope for obligated businesses expanding from 2007 regulations, and includes those who:

  • supply packaged goods to the UK market under your own brand
  • place goods into packaging
  • import products in packaging
  • own an online marketplace
  • hire or loan out reusable packaging
  • supply empty packaging

Companies will need to act if their annual turnover is £1 million or more and were responsible for more than 25 tonnes of packaging in 2022.

Smaller organisations, with a turnover between £1m to £2m will need to record their data, and begin reporting each year from 2025.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said the association didn’t want to see anyone in the industry caught out by the changes.

He said: “Extended Producer Responsibility is intended to ensure that businesses that produce packaging are financially responsible for the cost of disposing of it. The aim of the scheme is to incentivise businesses to use less packaging and to make it more recyclable.

“It is important that everyone puts this firmly on their to do list for before the 31 May deadline to avoid being penalised.”

EPR for packaging fees were originally planned to start in October 2024, but were deferred for a year, and will now start in October 2025.

Defra had committed to release the cost of the fees by summer 2023, but these have yet to be announced. These fees will vary depending on the materials you report.

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