OPRL MD to head EPR scheme

Dr Margaret Bates

OPRL managing director Dr Margaret Bates has been appointed head for the UK Extended Producer Responsibility (pEPR) for Packaging scheme administrator.

She will take up this role on secondment for up to two years. The new UK pEPR scheme will move the cost of dealing with packaging waste from taxpayers to packaging producers. Through the fees they pay, producers will be incentivised to use less packaging, to use packaging that can be recycled, and to meet higher recycling targets.

In her new role, Dr Bates will be responsible for the implementation and readiness of the scheme administrator, working with Defra and the devolved administrations and across the whole collection and packaging value chain.

“During my time at OPRL, engagement with representatives across the value chain has shown an ever-growing appetite for collaborative working and a focus on finding solutions,” Dr Bates said. “I look forward to building on this spirit of cooperation in the exciting new position of head for the UK Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging scheme administrator.

“This role is a huge opportunity to act as a catalyst for the whole industry to continue to create an effective EPR, ensuring that the responsibility for dealing with packaging waste is moved fairly on to producers, while also protecting the environment. Most of all, I hope to listen, and channel my experience of the issues facing the many varied stakeholders, to deliver a scheme that works – within the agreed timescales, and with common purpose.”

On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) is the not-for-profit company which helps businesses to assess and access consistent recycling and refill messages to appear on retailer and brand packaging. Dr Bates has led the organisation since 2020. Previously, she was professor of sustainable waste management at the University of Northampton.

Steve Gough, CEO at Reconomy brand Valpak, welcomed the announcement. He said, “Both I, and the team at Valpak, would like to congratulate Margaret on an appointment that will earn support across the supply chain. Margaret’s wealth of experience at Northampton University and OPRL, and her dedication to serving the sector while president of CIWM, will help to drive Defra’s packaging reforms forward collaboratively. We wish her success and look forward to working with her in her new role.”

The Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) also welcomed the move, describing Dr Bates as ‘without doubt the perfect person for this demanding role, given her expertise across the packaging value chain and recycling sector’.