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EPR and Packaging - Everything You Need To Know

  • 14th March 2023
  • 8 min read

If you're a UK organisation that deals with packaging, you may have come across the phrase 'EPR'. As the UK Government continues to introduce measures to limit waste and plastic usage, businesses must do all they can to comply with these ever changing regulations. 

In this blog article, you'll find out everything you need to know about EPR.

What is EPR? 

EPR stands for Extended Producer Responsibility and is a policy approach that requires producers to take responsibility for the entire life cycle of their products, including their disposal or recycling processes. 

What is the purpose of EPR? 

EPR primarily focuses on reducing the environmental impact of packaging waste in the UK and helps businesses focus on their packaging waste, encouraging them to consider the negative impacts they have on the planet.

If you produce large amounts of packaging waste you are likely to pay higher packaging fees. However if you make a conscious effort to improve your environmental reputation then packaging fees may be reduced. 

How to implement EPR

If you strive to ensure your packaging is sustainable and delivers the very best customer experience, then ensuring your packaging is EPR compliant is a natural part of the packaging process. 

Conduct a packaging audit 

Packaging audits are a great way to understand how much packaging your company is wasting, allowing you to take responsibility for the impact you have on the planet. 

When it comes to starting that all important audit, ask yourself the following questions: 

    • What's your goal? Are you looking to remove plastic or non-recyclable packaging completely or are you aiming to reduce your plastic usage? You should also consider what time frame you want to do this by.
    • What percentage of your total packaging contains plastic or non-recyclable materials? You should look into your supply chain as well as the packaging you use.
    • What plastics or non-recyclable materials are you using? Get to know what plastics you’re using. Do you understand the impacts they have on the environment and are there any sustainable alternatives you could use?
    • What are your competitors doing? Understanding who your competitors are is a great way to identify where you can improve or if you’re doing better than them.
    • What type of plant-based packaging should you be using? Using plant based packaging is a great biodegradable packaging option. However there are multiple plant-based packaging options you can choose from. For example plant based materials created through food waste is a better option than using materials that were specifically grown for packaging use.
    • Is it feasible for you to use refillable or reusable packaging? If you sell products that could benefit from refillable or reusable packaging, this is a great way to reduce your packaging waste.
    • Are you able to re-imagine your packaging? For example if your packaging could be reduced in size or you could use more sustainable materials then this is a move you should consider making. This will also impact how you're affected by Plastic Packaging Tax as reducing the amount of plastic you use could decrease how much you pay for your packaging.

Evaluate your packaging design

Evaluating your packaging design is extremely important as it helps you understand whether your packaging is sustainable, recyclable and provides a great customer experience. 

Sustainable packaging is the sourcing, development and use of packaging solutions that have minimal environmental impact and footprint. 

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) says that for packaging to be considered as sustainable, it should be:

  • Beneficial, safe and healthy for individuals and communities throughout its lifecycle.
  • Meets market criteria for performance and cost.
  • Is sourced, manufactured, transported and recycled using renewable energy.
  • Optimises the use of renewable recycled source materials.
  • Manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices.
  • Is physically designed to optimise materials and energy. 


It’s important to remember that sustainable packaging and packaging that delivers exceptional customer experience doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. With the right packaging partner, you can design packaging that meets a multitude of goals. 

For example, our work with a leading British bike manufacturer allowed us to create a bespoke packaging solution involving a fully recyclable, plastic-free packaging solution that would protect their pre-built bikes. Our solution led to us getting nominated for two awards. 


Implement a packaging process

Once you’ve got your design sorted, it’s time to implement a packaging process that will help you reduce your packaging waste. Before you launch your packaging process, you should consider the following: 

  • Think about why you’re implementing a packaging process - Understanding why you’re implementing a packaging process is essential to being able to create a strategy for your business. 
  • Do some competitor research - What your competitors are doing? Can you learn from them or is there an opportunity? 
  • Who’s leading the transition in packaging sustainability?
  • What factors are influencing positive change within the packaging industry?

Benchmark where your company is currently at

Understanding where your organisation is at in terms of packaging waste will help you identify areas of improvements and how you can meet your goals. 

You should ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What types of materials do we currently use in our packaging and what ones have a negative impact on the environment?
  • What percentage of our packaging is recyclable, compostable or reusable?
  • What percentage of recycled materials is used within our packaging?
  • What carbon footprint does our packaging have?

Set your sustainability targets

Once you’ve figured out where you’re at and where you want to be it’s time to set your targets. 

Targets can include:

  • Reduced packaging weight.
  • Increased recycled content.
  • Increased percentage of recycled materials within packaging.

Creating targets that are achievable yet aspirational and timely is a great way to try and get yourself ahead of your competitors. 

Ensure you share your strategy with the rest of the business

Once you’ve created your strategy, it’s important to share it with the rest of your team to ensure everyone understands what the company is trying to achieve. You want to make sure you share your strategy in an inspirational way to help encourage all employees to get involved with making your aims achievable, and ensure the right size packaging is being used every time.  

Report and measure your progress

Reporting on your progress is an important step to take when it comes to understanding whether you’re on track to achieve your goals or whether you need to introduce new steps into your strategy to help you meet them. 

Ways you can measure success, include:

  • Talk to your supplier to encourage positive changes within their packaging portfolio.
  • Measure how much recycled materials you use.
  • Collaborate with packaging companies to help you design more sustainable and recyclable packaging.
  • Keep up to date with emerging technologies.
  • Share progress reports internally and externally.
  • Regularly review any challenges you’re facing and ways you could overcome them.

Deliver internal education and training 

Training and educating staff around EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) is extremely important as it helps to spread awareness externally as well as internally. This could be through staff discussing EPR with family and friends or them trying to implement being more sustainable in their home lives as well as work lives.

Training could take form as:

  • Training days.
  • Watching videos about what EPR is, how it works and how you can implement it.
  • Reading guides and industry updates. 

Introduce EPR with Titan today

EPR has huge impacts on both companies and the planet as it encourages businesses to reduce their packaging waste and introduce more sustainable materials into their businesses. 

It’s important to take responsibility for the negative environmental impacts your business has so that you can start to make a conscious effort to take a more sustainable approach to your business efforts. 

Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you make the right sustainable packaging solutions for you and the planet.

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Written by: Anna Punch Sales Director

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