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16 July 2024

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National Packaging Waste Database

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National Packaging Waste Database - Packaging Home

Producers of packaging

Producers are manufacturers, converters, importers, pack-fillers and sellers of packaging, who supply to another part of the chain or to the end user. The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 (as amended) oblige companies to recycle packaging waste to meet national targets. Producers' recycling obligations are based on packaging handled in the previous year.

Businesses must pass two threshold tests to become obligated producers. They must have a turnover of £2million or above and handle 50 tonnes or more of packaging in a calendar year.

Obligated producers have a choice to register annually either directly with their appropriate Agency (Environment Agency, SEPA, NIEA or NRW) or via a compliance scheme.

Further guidance is available to help with registration.

Compliance schemes

Compliance schemes aim to fulfil the obligations of their members. As a producer you need to evaluate your own position to decide if direct registration or joining a compliance scheme better suits your needs. Schemes all have their own systems and forms for taking out membership. Schemes must apply to their appropriate Agency for approval and during their approval period must comply with various regulatory conditions. The list of current approved compliance schemes is available on NPWD.

If a producer registers directly or joins a scheme they need to know:

  • what types of packaging they handled
  • the volumes of packaging they handled in the previous calendar year
  • what activities they performed on that packaging.

From this data the actual recycling obligations can be calculated. Schemes undertake this calculation on behalf of their members. Producers are responsible for ensuring they supply data that is as accurate as reasonably possible.

Reprocessors and exporters of packaging waste

A regulatory accreditation system was introduced in 2003 whereby companies are accredited and monitored by the appropriate Agency (Environment Agency, SEPA, NEIA or NRW) who:

  • carry out recycling of packaging waste in the UK
  • export it for recycling overseas
  • generate approved evidence of recycling in the form of electronic packaging waste recycling notes (ePRN or ePERN for exports)

ePRN/ePERNs are issued electronically through NPWD to producers who are registered directly and compliance schemes as evidence to demonstrate they have met their recycling obligations.

Reprocessors and exporters of packaging waste seeking to become accredited must apply through NPWD. Applications are assessed by a national team and visits will be made to the organisations as part of the accreditation process. Accredited reprocessors and exporters must comply with various conditions and failure to comply can result in suspension or cancellation of the accreditation, or further enforcement action.

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Author: Environment Agency | enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk