Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Packaging producers: Individual route

Packaging producer obligations - individual route

To comply with your obligations as a packaging producer, you can calculate your own recycling and recovery requirements and register yourself with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). This is called the 'individual route' or 'direct registration'.

What you must do

Assess how much packaging your business handles

To calculate your recovery and recycling obligations for the coming year, you need to assess:

  • the amount and type of packaging your business handled and supplied in the last calendar year
  • how you handled this packaging - manufacturing, filling, importing, etc.

Make sure you include all the packaging that your business owns and handles, not just packaging waste that you produce.

You can use the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD) to calculate your recovery and recycling obligations for each category of packaging material for the year.

The UK National Packaging Waste Database

GOV.UK: Packaging waste: producer responsibility

Register with the NIEA or SEPA

You must register with the NIEA or SEPA by 7 April each year. If you carry out activities in more than one part of the UK, you must register with each relevant environmental regulator. You can register online through the UK National Packaging Waste Database.

You must pay an annual registration fee to cover administration and monitoring costs.

Recycle and recover packaging waste

Once you have calculated your obligation, you need evidence that an amount of packaging waste equivalent to your obligation has been recycled or recovered on your behalf. This evidence is in the form of electronic packaging waste recovery notes (ePRNs) and electronic packaging waste export recovery notes (ePERNs).

You can make sure that your packaging waste is recycled by using:

  • local authority recycling collections
  • local community recycling organisations
  • commercial recycling contractors

Find your nearest waste site

Confirm you have met your recovery and recycling obligations

You must submit a certificate of compliance, signed by a partner, director, company secretary or member of staff with authority to sign off documents under the regulations, to the NIEA or SEPA by 31 January each year.

You must provide copies of evidence of compliance to support your certificate. You can do this online using the National Packaging Waste Database.

The evidence you will need to provide must either be:

  • ePRNs - if they are issued by a UK reprocessor of packaging wastes
  • ePERNs - if they are issued by a UK exporter of packaging wastes

There are separate ePRNs and ePERNs for each type of packaging waste.

Accredited reprocessors and exporters will normally charge a fee for ePRNs and ePERNs. The cost of ePRNs and ePERNs is not set at a fixed rate, but depends on the relative supply and demand for evidence.

You can find a full list of accredited reprocessors and exporters on the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD).

NPWD: Public register of accredited reprocessors and exporters

Provide information to customers

If your main packaging activity is selling packaging or finished goods in packaging to the final user or consumer, you must tell your customers about:

  • return, recovery and collection facilities available to them
  • how they can help to reuse, recover and recycle packaging, for example how to sort waste correctly or encourage the reuse of packaging

This is called the consumer information obligation.

In this Guideline

What is packaging?

Obligations for packaging design and use -who do they apply to?

Packaging design and use - your responsibilities

Packaging design and use - exemptions

Packaging producer obligations - who do they apply to?

Producer compliance schemes

Packaging producers: Individual route

Reprocessing and export of packaging waste

Packaging: reduce, reuse and recycle

Packaging: environmental legislation

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NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms