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    Wholesalers’ body secures huge win for sector

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    Following six months of extensive engagement with Defra and the Environment Agency, the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) has secured a major win that will have major financial impact on wholesalers.

    The government has now amended the definition of Household Packaging in the Packing Waste Regulations, which means that the massive costs wholesalers would have faced under EPR will now be substantially reduced.

    Previously, the definition of household packaging resulted in some business-only packaging attracting a cost obligation for wholesalers, which for some members would have run into millions of pounds. However, following FWD’s representation, the government has now amended the definition to ensure that business-only packaging will not be classified as household packaging.

    Defra said, “We received valuable feedback from stakeholders who expressed concern that the previous definition of household packaging resulted in some business-only packaging attracting a disposal cost obligation, particularly where the packaging was supplied via wholesalers or intermediaries. To address this, we have amended the definition of household packaging to ensure that business-only packaging that is not likely to be disposed of in a household bin, will not be classified as household packaging.”

    “This is a big win for the wholesale sector,” said James Bielby, CEO, FWD.

    “The household waste definition would have had a major financial impact on our members and meant a substantial increase in their operational expenses, posing an unsustainable burden, particularly given the wholesale sector’s already thin profit margins. For some, this would have run into millions of pounds a year. It is great that government has listened to our concerns and is adopting an approach which reflects the market as it actually is.

    “No foodservice consumer ever buys a 5kg tin of baked beans and that waste will never end up in a household bin. The new regulations recognise that, which is great news for wholesalers, customers and consumers.”

    The new guidance is expected to be published in February 2024 and FWD will continue to work closely with officials at Defra and the Environment Agency to ensure the guidance works for the sector.

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