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How to utilise the UK’s collection and packaging reform delays to get ahead

As businesses strive to navigate the ever-changing landscape of packaging regulations, policy delays and uncertainties can present both challenges and opportunities.

The UK’s collection and packaging reforms, including EPR payments and Scottish DRS, have been delayed until 2025. Additionally, waste management reforms are being slowly pushed back across the devolved nations, and reuse and refill legislation appears confined to intentions in policy papers.

While this breathing room may offer temporary relief, it’s crucial for businesses to make the most of this time to reduce long-term costs and adopt proactive strategies rather than reactive approaches.

No matter what markets you sell into, legislation for packaging reform is coming and will soon be implemented across every continent

The complexity of global nuances

Internationally, nations are grappling with rolling out their green agendas, and even at the EU level, climate change is a politicised subject. This often leads to policy delays, making it challenging for businesses to anticipate and prepare for rapid changes.

Packaging reforms encompass Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), Collection Reform, Single-use Plastic Reduction, and Responsible Design: On a global basis, each of these key themes presents a unique set of challenges based on a country’s waste management infrastructure and consumer behaviour.

No matter what markets you sell into, legislation for packaging reform is coming and will soon be implemented across every continent. With this comes a range of approaches and nuances at national or even state level that can be hard to keep up to date with. Add in the pressure from international communities, committees, NGOs and treaties; the landscape is becoming increasingly opaque and convoluted – more than a challenge for even the most highly resourced brands to stay on top of.

Policy change driving strategy

Methods used to implement each key packaging reform theme will differ depending on your location and geographic markets. Each nation’s waste management infrastructure and consumer makeup are unique and pose their own challenges.

We also know that in the mid-to-long term, reusable packaging will become a legal requirement and that carbon, biodiversity, land use change, and water are all entering the playing field for eco-modulation and excise duties. Many of the policies already introduced incentivise a switch away from plastics to other formats and materials, some of which have their own issues if not responsibly procured.

For more on this, see: Why Innovative Sustainable Packaging Materials Aren’t Scaling

Businesses should not view the delays as a respite, but rather as an opportunity to proactively prepare for future policy changes

A proactive approach

As the UK’s collection and packaging reform measures face delays, businesses should not view this as a respite but rather as an opportunity to proactively prepare for future policy changes. By embracing sustainable practices, minimising packaging use, and staying informed with Root’s Regulatory Radar, businesses can lead the charge in responsible packaging and build a sustainable future. Let us help you navigate the dynamic world of packaging reform and keep your business on the path to success in the sustainable packaging landscape.

Root’s Solution: Regulatory Support

To help businesses stay ahead of policy changes and make informed decisions we offer clients a variety of subscription services that keep them up to date with environmental packaging policy. Our reports distil key points from the policy landscape affecting your business, packaging and customers, while helping your legal team focus their agenda and avoid fines. Our regulatory support enables brands to be proactive and stay compliant across multiple markets.

Our premium package includes bespoke client action plans that define reactive and proactive workstreams to save time and reduce risks. With Root’s expert perspective and regulatory insights, your business can navigate the complex packaging reform landscape and maintain its commitment to sustainable practices.

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