OPRL welcomes Defra ‘clarity’ on EPR labelling

Jude Allan

OPRL has welcomed Defra’s confirmation that OPRL’s ‘Recycle’ label is already compliant with new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packaging rules.

During an online business readiness forum on 11 April, Defra announced that labelling requirements for EPR will come into force in April 2027. Linda Crichton, team leader, packaging policy at Defra, also affirmed that OPRL’s label meets the criteria for EPR.

Jude Allan, interim MD at OPRL, said, “Defra’s announcement gives businesses the certainty they need. With this deadline confirmed, brands can now begin the mammoth task of preparing to label every packaging product placed on the market.

“We’ve been working hard to ensure our labels are consistent with EPR regulations, so Defra’s clarification on the compliance of the OPRL label gives a head start to those brands which are already signed up to our labelling scheme. But we are also here to advise those just starting out on the journey.

“As well as designing packaging to incorporate recycling labels, businesses need to assess recyclability and evidence their claims. As the organisation behind the only label currently compliant with EPR, OPRL has 15 years of experience in building the tools to assess recyclability, and we are well-aware of the scale of this undertaking. Together, we will meet the demands of EPR and build a more sustainable packaging supply chain.”

The new regulations require all consumer packaging to display a label showing recycling instructions for consumers. These labels must be in supply by 1 April 2027. This means that, while not all on-shelf products will feature recycling labels by this date, businesses must be able to show that processes are in place. For example, recyclability will have been assessed and packaging designs underway. OPRL explained this clarification is important to ensure any products already packaged are not wasted unnecessarily.