EPR – Time for some straight talking

Robert Fell, director and chief executive at MPMA, shares his thoughts on recent EPR delays. 

So it looks like EPR may be kicked still further down the road. 

According to reliable media reports last week, the Prime Minister himself is seriously considering pushing back the deadline with no revised date for delivery of the detail, or an implementation timetable.

But is this a bad thing?

In the general scheme of things, yes, of course it is.

EPR should have been up and running months ago and we’ve been promised full details of how EPR will work for what feels like a lifetime.

There’s also been nothing on the Consistency of Collection consultation response, the introduction of which is fundamental in ensuring that the proposed 2030 EPR recycling rates can actually be met. 

For EPR, we still don’t know what the fees will look like and what sort of modulation step there will be between recyclable and unrecyclable packaging. This makes it impossible for companies to plan or accrue accurately in preparation for 2024 fees.

Further, MPMA members supplying companies below the de-minimis still remain in the dark as to the charges they should be making now to cover the fees they will have to pay in 2024 for packaging they supplied in 2023.

But that said, it would be foolish to proceed with so little detail in place, and so little time left to finalise it.

No EPR is surely better than a half-baked system rushed through for short-term political expediency; especially given the fairly imminent general election which on current predictions is likely to impose yet more change.

So MPMA shares its voice with others in the sector who are calling on Defra for an honest and realistic revision of timescales which takes account of all government priorities and avoids creating new deadlines which cannot be met.

Delay is not good, but a rushed and poorly thought through system could be so much worse.


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