The Government has revealed that new rules to ensure packaging producers pay for the cost of recycling their packaging will be deferred a year from October 2024 to 2025.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the decision comes amid “extensive engagement with industry”, and in light of the pressure facing consumers and businesses in the current economic context.
The government added it will use the additional year to continue to discuss the scheme’s design with industry and reduce the costs of implementation wherever possible.
In anticipation of EPR, producers have already started to use less packaging and adopt easier to recycle packaging formats, and it added it expects this process to continue – ensuring that costs are not then passed onto households later on.
Commenting on the news, Andrew Opie, director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “The Government is right to extend the timelines on its packaging reform. Its plans are not ready, and this would simply drive up food prices without delivering the improvements in recycling everybody wants. We need to use the additional time to design an effective recycling scheme that delivers value for money for households across the UK.
“Recycling rates have stagnated for a decade. If they are to rise, there must be better coordination of the Government’s waste reforms so that there is consistency in how we recycle across the country. It’s also vital that the £2bn Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is expected to raise annually, is targeted towards improving infrastructure to boost the supply of recycled material for reuse. We look forward to continuing to work with Government to ensure that EPR delivers for the environment and for consumers.”