The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a model which Ireland uses for dealing with a number of waste streams. It has been developed based on the ‘producer pays’ principle, with the producer’s responsibility extending beyond the consumer stage of a product’s life cycle. The producers are also responsible for the collection and environmentally sound waste management of their products at end of life.
Ireland has existing EPR schemes for Packaging, Batteries, WEEE, Tyres, ELVs and Farm Plastics, with new streams being introduced for Single Use Plastics in line with Ireland’s Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy (2021).
Impact on ‘major producers’
The amendment to the Packaging Regulations in December 2022 (European Union (Packaging) (Amendment) Regulations 2022) changes the EPR Scheme for packaging, in particular the management of EPR obligations for 'major producers' of packaging.
Who is affected?
These are producers who, “for the purpose of trade or otherwise in the course of business, sells or otherwise supplies to other persons packaging material, packaging or packaged products”, place 10 tonnes or more of packaging on the market in Ireland annually and have an annual turnover of more than €1 million in Ireland.
Since 1 January 2023, to comply with obligations under the Packaging Regulations, 'major producers' are now required to become a member of an approved body. Repak operates Ireland’s only existing approved body for packaging and packaging waste under approval from the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications. Previously, producers had the option to 'self-comply' under local authority oversight. However, this has been removed to ensure ‘major producers’ comply with their EPR obligations.
The removal of the ‘self-compliance’ option for ‘major producers’ is seen as a one key step in achieving Ireland’s 2025 and 2030 targets for individual packaging streams.
Those bodies classed as ‘major producers’ should be aware of their new compliance obligations and also recent changes to the information and payments required by Repak. Producers are now required to provide information on the weights of packaging and their role in the supply chain in order to calculate their fees. More information on these membership changes is available on the Repak website
For more information, please contact a member of our Planning & Environment team.
The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.