Packaging compliance scheme Valpak has published a report on a collaborative alternative to the government’s current options for extended producer responsibility (EPR) reform.
The report, PackFlow Hybrid Model – An Enhanced Approach to EPR Reform, is the result of months of research and modelling. It outlines a new, hybrid system that builds on, and enhances, the four models provided in the government’s consultation on EPR.
Director of consulting at Valpak, Andrew McCaffery, said the combined system represents the best opportunity to develop end markets and encourage meaningful recycling. He said: “None of the models offered in the consultation have focused strongly on ways to develop end markets. We have a unique chance to reform the system in a way that will redefine the costs around collection and recycling, and transform the landscape for packaging. We should ensure that whichever option is chosen represents a robust system designed to meet – and exceed – the UK’s requirements.”
The 20-page report, which was first introduced at Valpak’s recent PackFlow meeting, attended by government representatives, industry partners and other compliance schemes, summarises the company’s extensive research into the strengths and weaknesses of the existing UK scheme. It also covers the successes and shortcomings of overseas systems, and analyses the pros and cons of the four existing consultation models, before introducing the idea of a hybrid approach that enhances the options outlined by government.
Under the amended, hybrid version, a single not-for-profit organisation (producer management board or PMB) would set a modulated fee that covers the full net costs of packaging collection by local authorities. This would cover approximately 80 per cent of total full net costs of recycling while the remaining, smaller portion would help to ensure that focus also remains on meeting recycling targets and producing the necessary evidence of proper recycling activity.
McCaffery said: “To grow end markets – and recycling capability – long-term strategic investment is crucial. Under the hybrid model, local authorities would be guaranteed fair and consistent payment, while recycling and end markets are also supported.”
Benefits of the new system include:
- Lower costs and greater transparency for producers;
- Consistent and fair funding for local authorities, with guaranteed outlets for materials;
- Funding for national and local campaigns;
- Providing producers with a choice of innovative and strategic packaging recovery organisations
- A target-driven scheme;
- Government retains a strategic overview while spreading risk among packaging recovery organisations;
- Financial support available for strategic investment by reprocessors; and,
- Significant reduction in size and administration of PMB.
McCaffery concluded: “The hybrid adaptation would help us to implement more sustainable systems that meet the requirements – and aspirations – of the Circular Economy, while allocating funds in a balanced way. The changes we face require careful consideration; ideally with further consultation once the options have been fine-tuned and narrowed down.
“With foresight and collaboration we can – and will – achieve a system that will be the envy of producer responsibility systems around the world.”
For more detail and to view PackFlow Hybrid Model – An Enhanced Approach to EPR Reform – in full, visit: https://www.valpak.co.uk/PackFLow2025