Defra Publish EPR & DRS Consultations

Yesterday (24th March 2021) Defra released two of the three highly anticipated packaging and waste consultations. These are Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packaging and Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The consultations are open for responses until 4th June 2021. The third consultation on Consistency in Household and Business Waste Collections is expected in the coming weeks.


Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packaging

Following significant support from a variety of stakeholders in EPR’s first consultation in 2019, Government have committed to introducing Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging with a proposed phased introduction from 2023.

The second consultation focuses on specific policy proposals for its introduction, this includes the scope of full net costs, producer obligations, scheme governance, regulation of the scheme and packaging waste recycling targets.

The overall aim of the reform is to incentivise producers to design packaging that is easy to recycle and ensure that they pay the full net cost of managing the packaging they place on the market when it eventually becomes waste, in line with the polluter-pays principle.


Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

In 2019 Defra consulted on the introduction of a DRS to reduce littering and boost recycling levels for the relevant materials, while driving the materials up the waste hierarchy moving towards a more circular economy. This was met with considerable support from respondents and Government committed to develop proposals, with mind to implement a scheme in 2023 subject to further analysis of cost and benefit of such a scheme.

Given the unprecedented year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government recognises the disruption to the economy and society, acknowledging that many are reassessing values, decisions, and priorities. Therefore, this second consultation builds on the first, to explore opinions on a DRS in a ‘post-Covid’ context, while informing how a future scheme could be designed to best deliver on the objectives of introducing such a policy in late 2024 at the earliest.


We will be hosting a series of member webinars in due course to help unpick the content and aid responses to the consultations. In addition, if you are a member of a Wastepack Group scheme and require specific guidance in formulating your response to the consultations please get in touch – we’re happy to help.

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