Regulatory Outlook

Environment | Regulatory Outlook June 2022

Published on 20th Jun 2022

Extended producer responsibility, single use plastics and food waste

Assembly robot picking up a package

Guidance issued on new extended producer responsibility for packaging

On 7 June, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Environment Agency published guidance on preparing for the new extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging. 

The guidance provides information on which businesses will need to take steps to ensure they collect the correct packaging data from 1 January 2023 and what is required under the new EPR regulations. Businesses who are caught within the scope of the EPR are:

  • Small organisations – with annual turnover of between £1 million and £2 million, that handle and supply more than 25 tonnes of empty packaging or packaged goods through the UK market; or annual turnover is over £1 million and responsible for handling and supplying between 25 tonnes and 50 tonnes of empty packaging or packaged goods through the UK market.
  • Large organisations – with annual turnover of £2 million or more and responsible for handling and supplying more than 50 tonnes of empty packaging or packaged goods in the UK.
  • Parent companies, groups or subsidiaries that meet the turnover or tonnage requirements. 

The guidance provides information on what should be included when collecting and submitting packaging data, this includes:

  • individual materials in the packaging being handled and supplied;
  • materials used in "primary", "secondary" and "transit" packaging;
  • packaging likely to become household or non-household waste; and
  • packaging likely to end up in street bins.

While data does not need to be collected until 2023, businesses should be familiarising themselves with this guidance and with which measures they need to be putting in place to ensure the correct data is collected so it can be submitted properly next year. 

Single use plastics in Scotland 

The Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Scotland) Regulations 2021, implementing a ban on many single-use plastics in Scotland, came into force on 1 June 2022. It is now an offence for businesses in Scotland to provide items including plastic cutlery, plates and stirrers. Guidance on the implementation of these regulations can be found here.   

The regulations make it an offence to manufacture and to supply the following items: 

  • single-use expanded polystyrene beverage cups including their covers and lids; 
  • single-use expanded polystyrene beverage containers including their caps and lids; 
  • single-use expanded polystyrene food containers; 
  • single-use plastic cutlery including forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks; 
  • single-use plastic plates; and 
  • single-use plastic beverage stirrers. 

The regulations also make it an offence to supply: 

  • single-use plastic straws (where the straws are supplied to an end-user); and 
  • single-use plastic balloon sticks.

Failure to comply with the regulations carries a maximum fine of £5,000. 

Consultation on improved reporting of food waste by large food businesses in England

On 13 June, Defra published a consultation which seeks views on options to improve food waste reporting by large food businesses in England. 

It is seeking views on the following: options for improving food waste reporting; types of businesses in scope; material in scope to be reported; the reporting process which businesses in scope will need to follow for any regulation; costs and impacts of any regulation; and enforcement of any regulations. The consultation closes on 5 September 2022.

Government responds to consultation on implementing due diligence requirements for forest risk commodities in UK supply chain

Please see ESG
 

Follow
Interested in hearing more from Osborne Clarke?

* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

Connect with one of our experts

Interested in hearing more from Osborne Clarke?