The UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has decided to defer its extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme for packaging by one year.

The deadline has been pushed from October 2024 to October 2025.

This decision, according to Defra, has been taken together with its devolved administrations.

It comes in the wake of continuous pressure faced by businesses and consumers in the current economic scenario of the country.

Following the latest move, the government will use this one-year extension period to further discuss the design of the scheme with the industry itself and to minimise the costs of implementation ‘wherever possible’.

It will further provide more time for local authorities, industry and waste management companies to better prepare for the EPR scheme’s implementation.

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All packaging producers and businesses in the country that fall under EPR rules will be required to pay the collection and disposal costs of household packaging they supply to consumers, subsequent to it becoming waste. 

The scheme’s implementation will encourage producers to minimise the amount of excess packaging they put out in the market while improving the recyclability of packaging waste.

UK Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We are determined to transform the way we collect, recycle and reuse our waste materials so we eliminate all avoidable waste by 2050 in a way that works for households and consumers.

“We are also listening to industry and ensuring our work to tackle inflation and to drive-up recycling go hand in hand, to make sure our reforms will be a success.”

The new legislation will further support the British government’s commitment to eliminate avoidable waste by 2050 and provide recycling for approximately 65% of municipal waste by 2035.

The scheme is also in line with other major reforms such as an upcoming ban on single-use plastic products, cutlery and plates; and the implementation of tax on plastic packaging that fails to meet the minimum requirement of at least 30% recycled content.

Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s CEO Simon Roberts said: “This decision is also an important step in minimising further pressure on food inflation and we will continue to focus on delivering the best value to customers in coming months.”