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Packaging legislation to be aware of in 2024

Keeping up to date with the latest legislation that applies in the packaging industry is not an easy task!

The UK Government are bringing in sweeping reforms around packaging waste, so it’s a good time to try and understand what packaging related regulations you should know about in 2024. In this article I will look at key pieces of packaging legislation that might impact you in 2024.

What is packaging legislation?

Packaging legislation is a legal requirement (or regulation) that involves packaging materials. The legislation will only apply to certain businesses, depending on different criteria, such as how much packaging they produce or use.

What packaging legislation should you be aware of in 2024?

In the UK there are four key pieces of packaging legislation to be aware of: Packaging Waste Regulations, Extended Producer Responsibilities, the UK Plastic Packaging Tax and the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. Let’s look closer at each one.

Packaging Waste Regulations

If your business produces (or uses) packaging or sells packaged goods, you may be classed as an “obligated producer” under packaging waste regulations. The regulations aim to help businesses to reduce the amount of packaging they produce, reduce how much of their packaging goes to landfill and increase the amount of their packaging waste that is recycled.

You’ll be classed as an obligated producer if:

  • You handled 50 tonnes of packaging materials or packaging in the previous calendar year
  • You have a turnover of more than £2 million a year (based on the last financial year’s accounts)

If this is the case you will need to be registered as a packaging producer by April-7th each year and meet any required recycling obligation and obtain evidence of your compliance. Your certificate of compliance then needs to be submitted by January-31st the following year. Click here to learn more.

Extended Producer Responsibilities

In addition to the standard packaging waste regulations, the UK Government has introduced Extended Producer Responsibilities (EPR). EPR legislation is a reform of historic packaging waste regulations that looks to shift the cost of household packaging waste management to producers.

Obligated businesses will have to provide even more granular information about the packaging they’re putting on to the UK market. They’ll also need to pay fees, depending on their packaging use and if the packaging is likely to end up in household waste. Fees are set to be modulated, based on the packaging material, for example: plastic is expected to be taxed more than paper. Even within the category of “plastics” different types of plastics will have different fees, depending on how easy they are to recycle.

To be considered, the following points needs to apply:

  • you will be an individual business, subsidiary or group (but not a charity)
  • you will have an annual turnover of £1 million or more (based on your most recent annual accounts)
  • you will have been responsible for more than 25 tonnes of packaging in 2022
  • you will carry out any packaging activities as defined by the Government

Different reporting and fees will then depend on if you’re a large business or a small business. Large businesses will have enhanced reporting and fee paying obligations, including paying waste management fees, scheme administrator costs, and charges to the environmental regulator.

Large businesses are defined as organisations over £2m in annual turnover and who are putting more than 50 tonnes of packaging on the UK market. 

UK Plastic Packaging Tax

Introduced in 2022, the UK Plastic Packaging Tax applies a levy to plastic packaging materials that contain less than 30% recycled content. Currently, the fee is £210.82 per tonne. It was last raised in April 2023, so we may see another increase in the tax in April 2024.

When you consider that modulated EPR fees are expected to be higher for plastic materials on top of the Plastic Packaging Tax, the Government is really incentivising businesses to use high recycled content materials, more recyclable plastics or even ditch it in favour of paper-based packaging materials.

EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive

‍The EU’s new Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting Directive (CSRD) requires at least 50,000 large companies within the EU, to create a report on their social and environmental impact actions from 2024 onwards.

The legislation could apply to UK businesses with strongholds in other European countries. They will apply in two scenarios:

  • Listed Securities – if your company has securities listed on an EU regulated market, regardless of its location, it will fall under the scope of the CSRD reporting obligations.
  • EU Net Turnover – if your company has a net turnover in the EU exceeding €150 million over the last two consecutive financial years, it will be subject to the CSRD if your company meets either of the following criteria:
  1. You have an EU subsidiary with securities listed on an EU regulated market or qualifies as a large undertaking.
  2. Your company operates an EU branch that has generated a net turnover exceeding €40 million in the previous financial year.

If these scenarios apply to your business, you will need to comply with the CRSD. So what does all this mean for packaging? Packaging strategies may form part of your sustainability reporting and have a direct influence on your environmental impact. You may need to consider your packaging waste data, the recyclability of your packaging and how packaging could affect your carbon footprint. Plus, you will have an obligation to report on this information.

Support mitigating the impact of packaging legislation in 2024

At Elliott Packaging we are ready to help you mitigate the impact packaging legislation can have on your business..

  • Sustainable packaging products – we have an extensive range of recycled content and recyclable packaging products. For example we are able to offer robust co-extruded polythene mailing bags made from up to 100% recycled content.  We can also offer FSC certified paper carrier bags and paper mailing bags.
  • Packaging optimisation – we can help you create more sustainable, right-size packaging that’s lighter. This can help you reduce your overall pack weight and remove CO2 from your packaging supply chain and reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Advice from a business dedicated to sustainability – we are continually looking for ways to make our business more sustainable and help our customers do the same. So, you can rest assured you’re getting expert packaging advice from a reliable and trustworthy source.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch to see how we can help you today.

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