Updated Apr 4, 2024

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Packaging Waste Data Requirements legislation amended

In 2023, data collection and reporting requirements were introduced across the UK for certain packaging producers. This was part of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging which requires those classed as large organisations to gather and report on data every six months, and those classed as small organisations to just gather data (for now) on that packaging. Small organisations will have to begin reporting once a year from 2025.

The EPR was introduced in the UK via four separate regulations, each one applying to the individual countries in the UK. These Regulations have now been amended by the:

  • Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) (England) (Amendment) Regulations SI 2024/359 in England, which apply from 1 April 2024;
  • Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations SSI 2024/42 in Scotland, which apply from 1 April 2024;
  • Packaging Waste (Data Collection and Reporting) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations SI 2024/400 in Wales, which apply from 1 April 2024;
  • Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) (No. 2) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2024/80 in Northern Ireland, which apply from 1 May 2024.

All large organisations should note that these amendments impact on data reporting requirements and, although they didn't come into force until April in Britain and May in Northern Ireland, they apply to the data reporting period 1 January 2024 to 30 June 2024.

However, transitional provisions are in place if you are a large organisation and do not have enough information to meet the new reporting requirements covering the period 1 January to 1 April 2024 (in the case of Britain) and 1 January to 1 May 2024 (in the case of Northern Ireland). In such cases, the organisation does not have to report on the data relating to packaging supplied between 1 January and 1 April 2024 (GB) or 1 May 2024 (Northern Ireland), but data collected under the amended legislation must be collected from 1 April or 1 May (as applicable) to 30 June 2024.

What do the amendments affect?

Although the amendments are in four different documents and apply to legislation in individual countries of the UK, the affect of the amendments is the same. They affect data reporting requirements for 2024 and impact on:

We've summarised some of the main changes below.

Drinks containers

The amendments all define drinks containers as a bottle or can which:

  • contains or used to contain drink;
  • is made from PET plastic, glass, steel or aluminium;
  • has a capacity of at least 50ml but no more than three litres;
  • is designed or intended to be sealed in an airtight and watertight state at the point of supply to a consumer in the UK; and
  • is not conceived, designed or marketed to be refilled or reused.

From 2024, you must collect and report data on drinks containers that are supplied in Scotland. This was previously discounted because Scotland was due to establish a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for such containers. The DRS has now been delayed, so the data has to be captured, instead, under the relevant data reporting requirements otherwise it would go unobligated.

If the drinks container contains multiple components made of different materials, the container should be treated as being made of the same material as the predominant component material. Where the predominant component is made of glass, each component must be treated separately. This is different to the requirements of the 2023 data.

Filling packaging

The updated provisions state that a packer/filler will be considered as a packaging producer in 2024 if they fill the packaging and:

  • there is no brand owner established in the UK;
  • the brand owner is not a large producer; or
  • the only brand on the packaging relates to the packaging itself and not to the product it contains.

An example given in the guidance states that in this scenario, if you fill a Jiffy bag with a product, you will have to report the Jiffy bag.

In addition, a change in the wording for clarification purposes means that a packer/filler is the producer in relation to any packaging where that person fills the packaging, adds a brand to it (not at the request of the brand owner) and there is no other brand on the packaging. They are also responsible for the packaging if they fill any branded packaging otherwise than at the request of the brand owner.

Imported packaging

Similarly, the updated provisions have altered the scenarios in which an importer is also classed as a packaging producer. If an importer fills or discards in the UK any packaging:

  • for which there is no brand owner established in the UK;
  • where the brand owner is not responsible for the import of the packaging; or
  • where the brand owner is responsible for the import of the packaging but is not a large organisation,

then the importer is classed as the producer and should report on this packaging as applicable. It should be noted here that under the amended provisions, from 2024 unfilled packaging is the responsibility of the importer if they import it then discard it in the UK. However, the responsibility then falls onto a brand owner if they were also the importer.

The updated guidance also states that from 2024 if you import filled branded packaging, you do not have to report secondary and tertiary packaging if:

  • it is branded; and
  • the brand owner is a large organisation established in the UK; and
  • the brand owner is responsible for the import.

First UK owner

The amending documents take the opportunity to add a definition, and responsibilities, for a "first UK owner". This is defined across the UK legislation as someone, in relation to packaging that is not imported, who is "the first person established in the United Kingdom who takes ownership of that packaging in the United Kingdom".

First UK owners will be classed as a packaging producer in relation to any packaging where:

  • the packaging is packed or filled in the UK on behalf of someone who isn't established in the UK;
  • at the time it is packed or filled, nobody established in the UK is or has been the owner of the packaging; and
  • the filled packaging is supplied to the first UK owner.

This data, if applicable, should be reported under the 'imported' packaging activity.

Household packaging

The amendments have re-drafted the provisions relating to what is considered as "houeshold packaging". The provisions now state that household packaging is primary or shipment packaging. However, packaging:

  • supplied to a business or public institution which is the final user of the packaging is to be treated as non-household packaging if the producer supplying the packaging has evidence to prove the business or institution is the end user (i.e, they do not supply the packaging or product in the packaging to anyone else);
  • used for a product where the product is designed only for use by a business or public institution and the packaging is not likely to be disposed of in a household or public bin is to be treated as non-household packaging if the producer supplying the packaging has evidence of the use and disposal;
  • imported into the UK by an importer and discarded in the UK by that importer is non-household packaging.

In order to help with these updated provisions on household packaging, the Government has published new guidance on "Extended producer responsibility for packaging: how to assess household and non-household packaging".

Empty packaging

Further changes have been made as to when a distributor is also classed as a producer. If the distributor manufactures or imports unfilled packaging and then supplies it to someone who is not a large producer, the distributor is classed as the producer.

If the unfilled packaging is supplied to a large producer who fills or packs the packaging before supplying it to someone else, then the distributor does not have to report it as long as they have evidence to show this is the case. In addition, if the distributor can prove that the empty packaging will be reported by a brand owner that is a large organisation, the packaging does not have to be reported by the distributor.

For this to work, distributors may have to find out if someone they are supplying is a large producer in the first place. To facilitate this, these latest amendments require the Environment Agency, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to publish (in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively) a list of all large producers that report to them.

Recycling obligations

The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations SI 2007/871 (in Britain) and the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2007/198 (in Northern Ireland) impose obligations on producers to recover and recycle packaging waste if they have an annual turnover of more than £2 million and handle packaging or packaging materials weighing more than 50 tonnes each year.

The amendments to the data reporting legislation states that where the large producers' report, in relation to the six month period ending on or after 30 June 2024, concerns packaging that has been the subject of those recycling obligations, the producer can choose to submit a report stating the proportion of the relevant packaging that has been required to be recycled.


In addition to the changes set out above, the following changes have also been made:

  • Schedule 1 of the respective legislation applying to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland contains information that must be collected and reported. This has changed, notably, to require packers/fillers and first UK owners to record and report some data if they are classed as producers. As such, it is important to check the relevant Schedule 1 to see whether you, as a producer, need to collect any additional or different data for the 2024 (and beyond) reporting period. Links to the legislation applying to each UK country are provided at the bottom of this In Focus;
  • as mentioned above, the 2024 data should include drinks containers. Straws, however, are no longer listed and are not considered to be packaging, so they do not need to be reported as items that end up in public bins. The packaging around a straw will still have to be reported however.
  • the guidance has been updated to explain what it means to be "established in the UK". Primarily, an organisation is established in the UK if their registered office, head office or main place of business is in the UK. They can also be considered established in the UK if they have a branch or postal address in the UK, even if their head/registered office is abroad.

As such, it is important to read the updated guidance document on 'what to collect for extended producer responsibility' to understand what must be reported from 2024 onwards.

For more information, see:

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