Avoid unnecessary costs despite Government delay to EPR, advises OPRL

Businesses shouldn’t reduce their efforts and subject themselves to high costs by believing they have more time after the Government put back the roll-out of EPR.

Responding to the announcement of a one year delay to EPR, OPRL (On-Pack Recycling Label) cautions businesses not to rest on their laurels.

Margaret Bates, managing director at OPRL, said: “The delay offers an opportunity for those ready to use the time constructively. Those which prepare now will benefit from lower fee costs and show a strong brand response.

“EPR is designed to drive recyclability and all the associated benefits. It is spreading across the globe and will affect large businesses across their portfolio. For the UK it is important to recognise it as direction of travel, rather than a stand-alone piece of legislation. Recent OPRL research showed that, despite the cost of living crisis, consumers are behind recycling – 81% agreed that recycling is very important. With or without EPR, consumers are likely to call for greater recyclability.”

In the consumer survey, the environment was the number one prompted motivation behind recycling. This has significantly increased as a prompted reason since 2021, as consumers become more committed to recycling for the planet, rather than to feel good.

Under EPR, every single piece of packaging must be labelled to show whether or not it can be recycled. OPRL – which manages the only label currently compliant with EPR rules – advises businesses to begin as soon as possible to ensure that packaging is recyclable and that it has the correct label on.

Bates said: “Businesses need to assess whether packaging items are recyclable and arrange new labelling. For some, this will be a significant task, so it is crucial that work starts well before the deadline.”

Bates concluded: “The key message is to prepare, prepare, prepare! The risks associated with being ready – and finding legislation delayed still further – are minor when compared with the risks of arriving at EPR unprepared.”

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