Defra has announced that it has appointed Dr Margaret Bates as its head of the EPR scheme administrator.

Dr. Margaret Bates, Managing Director of OPRL, a non-profit organization facilitating businesses in adopting recycling and refill messages for brand and retailer packaging, has taken on a pivotal role in the upcoming UK Packaging Extended Producer Responsibility (pEPR) initiative. This initiative aims to shift the financial responsibility for handling packaging waste from taxpayers to packaging producers. Under the pEPR scheme, producers will bear the complete cost of managing packaging waste generated from households.

In her new role, Dr. Bates will oversee the implementation and preparedness of the Scheme Administrator, a crucial element highlighted by Defra for the successful launch of the pEPR scheme in 2025. Collaborating closely with Defra, the Devolved Administrations, and stakeholders throughout the collection and packaging value chain, Dr. Bates will work towards reducing packaging usage, promoting recyclable packaging, and achieving the government’s recycling targets.

Expressing her enthusiasm for the appointment, Dr. Margaret Bates stated, “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. 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.”

Dr. Bates sees her role as a significant opportunity to act as a catalyst for the entire industry to create an effective EPR, ensuring that the responsibility for dealing with packaging waste is shifted fairly onto producers while also prioritizing environmental protection. She emphasized her commitment to listening and leveraging her experience to address the concerns of various stakeholders, delivering a scheme that works within agreed timescales and with a common purpose.

Commenting on Dr. Bates’ appointment, Dr. Stewart Davies, Chair at OPRL, stated, “OPRL is immensely proud that our Managing Director, Dr. Margaret Bates, has been enlisted to lead on this important step toward the circular economy in packaging.” He highlighted OPRL’s commitment to consumer confidence in recycling and its collaboration with material organisations, recyclers, and local authority groups, forming a secure base for EPR implementation through an industry-wide network.