Wholesaler depot

Wholesalers welcome packaging proposals

Wholesalers have welcomed the government’s proposals that producers should pay for packaging waste they place on the market.

Under plans unveiled by Defra for changes to the Extended Producer Responsibility system, manufacturers and importers of unfilled packaging sold to businesses will pay the full costs of dealing with the waste.

In the consultation document published last week, Defra is proposing a system in which “no new obligations would be placed on wholesalers”, with costs borne by brand owners and importers, replacing the current shared cost compliance system.

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors, which has lobbied for the continuation of the exemption for wholesale under the current system, welcomed the proposal.

“FWD members currently have packaging costs which collectively run into millions of pounds each year,” said FWD CEO James Bielby. “If further obligations were extended to distributors for packaging or packaged products, the obligated tonnage for FWD members would go up by 300%, which would be a significant increase in costs. These costs would be passed on to the 400,000 businesses members supply, via higher prices.

“Any changes to EPR must ensure the sector and members both small and large are able to continue to do business, to prosper and that growth is not stifled as we recover from Covid-19. Extending obligations on EPR would have had huge cost implications for wholesale and we welcome the recommendation of government that wholesale’s unique status is maintained.

“FWD has successfully fought off a wholesaler obligation twice in the past and the government’s proposal would mean that this will be maintained, subject to consultation. Coupled with our success in getting business rates relief for wholesalers in the same week as the EPR consultation, FWD’s level of influence within government has been demonstrated once again. It’s thanks to FWD that when policy changes are being introduced, the impact on the wholesale sector is carefully considered.”

Defra Federation of Wholesale Distributors Government packaging