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Unpacking the UK’s Packaging Legislation 2024: A Quick Guide 

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While packaging products for sale and shipment is necessary, packaging waste has become a leading cause of damage to the environment. In the UK alone over 11.6 million tonnes of packaging waste is created every year, with much of it ending up in landfill. In a bid to tackle this growing problem, the UK Government recently introduced new packaging legislation for businesses that sell, import, or handle packaged goods.

Deadlines are now looming for compliance with the new regulations, so it’s essential to know where your company stands. To get you up to speed here’s a quick roundup of the packaging reforms to have on your radar.

Why has the government introduced new packaging legislation?

The Government’s plan is to recycle 65% of municipal waste by 2025, and eliminate avoidable waste by 2050. To help them achieve these very ambitious targets, they’ve introduced an increasing amount of regulation, especially around the use of packaging.

Which packaging legislation do you need to be aware of in 2024?

There are four key areas you need to be aware of when it comes to packaging legislation:

  • Packaging Waste Regulations
  • Extended Producer Responsibilities
  • UK Plastic Packaging Tax
  • EU Corporate Sustainability Directive

Whether any of these regulations will affect your business depends on a number of factors, for example how much packaging you produce or handle, and your size of business.

Let’s go into more detail about each type of packaging regulation so you can assess your responsibilities going forward.

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1 Packaging Waste Regulations

These regulations, which came into force in February 2023, aim to reduce the amount of packaging produced, as well as the amount of packaging that goes to landfill, while increasing the amount of recyclable packaging waste.

To comply with the regulations, packaging producers are required to collect and report data on the amount and type of packaging they bring to the UK market. This data will be used to calculate the amount of packaging taxes they will need to pay going forward to comply with the new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme which is now underway.

Does your company need to comply with the Packaging Waste Regulations?

If you make or produce packaging, or sell packaged goods, you may be termed an “obligated” producer under packaging waste regulations. You’ll be considered obligated if you:

  • Handled 50 tonnes or more of packaging materials in the previous year
  • Have a turnover in excess of £2 million per year based on last year’s financial accounts

If the above applies to your business, you’ll need to register as a packaging producer by April 7th every year and will be asked to:

  • Meet all requirements in terms of recycling obligations
  • Obtain a certificate of compliance to provide evidence you’ve met the requirements – which has to be submitted by January 31st of the following year.

You can find out more about these regulations on the UK Government website.

2 Extended Producer Responsibilities (EPR)

The Extended Producer Responsibilities came into force in 2023 and companies are seeing a phased introduction of fees throughout 2024 (and now into 2025).

Up until recently, producers were paying just 10% of the cost of dealing with packaging waste.

These new rules will encourage producers to take more responsibility for the collection and disposal costs of packaging.

Businesses scoped as eligible for EPR have to provide detailed information about their packaging, and will incur fees according to how they use packaging, and on the type of packaging used.

Does your company need to comply with Extended Producer Responsibilities?

They could apply to you:

  • If you run an individual business or subsidiary
  • Have a turnover of over £1 million
  • Are responsible for over 25 tonnes of packaging (as of 2022)
  • Carry out packaging activities as defined by the UK Government

What you’ll need to pay in terms of fees will depend on your size of business. Larger businesses with a turnover of over £2 million, who place more than 50 tonnes of packaging into the UK are required to:

  • Apply rigorous reporting procedures
  • Pay fees for waste management
  • Cover costs related of scheme administration, and pay the environmental regulator

3 UK Plastic Packaging Tax

This regulation, first introduced in 2022, applies to plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled content. The fee as of April 1st 2024 is £217. 85 per tonne.

When combined with the previous EPR fees for plastic packaging materials, the onus is now clearly on providers to switch to either recycled packaging, or paper packaging.

4 EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive

This requires that, from 2024, at least 50,000 large companies in the EU create reports on their social and environmental actions. While the UK may not be in the European Union anymore, many UK businesses have a presence in EU countries. You may be subject to this directive if:

  • Your company has listed securities on an EU regulated market
  • You have a net turnover of over 150 million euros, in two consecutive years, in an EU country

Find out more about the new rules, and whether you may be required to comply at the European Commission’s website.

PALLITE®: Helping companies mitigate the impact of packaging legislation in 2024

At PALLITE® Group we’re dedicated to reducing the impact packaging has on the environment. Our packaging products are made from paper and PVA glue, and they are fully recyclable at the end of their life.

By switching to PALLITE®’s sustainable packaging solutions you can reduce not only your carbon footprint, but ease the tax burden on your company, and even make cost-savings in many areas.

You won’t need to compromise on strength or durability with PALLITE® products either. They have a patented honeycomb structure which makes them exceptionally strong, with pallets that can hold up to 750 kg in open beam racking.

PALLITE® shipping crates can also be manufactured to your exact specifications, with customised fitments that will keep items protected from damage during transit. This snug fit also works to reduce consignment space.

Prepare your company for the new regulations by calling us today. We’ll demonstrate that by moving to PALLITE® sustainable packaging solutions you can boost your green credentials and save money, both in 2024, and over the long term.

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