5 January 2024
by Sarah Morgan

EPR scheme head announced

Dr Margaret Bates FIMMM has been appointed to the role of Head for the UK Extended Producer Responsibility (pEPR) for Packaging Scheme Administrator.

Dr Margaret Bates FIMMM © Dr Margaret Bates

Dr Bates is currently the Managing Director of OPRL, the not-for-profit company that helps businesses to assess and access simple, consistent and UK-wide recycling and refill messages to appear on retailer and brand packaging. 

She will take up this role on secondment for up to two years. 

Dr Bates has led OPRL since 2020. Previously, she was Professor of Sustainable Waste Management at the University of Northampton.

She has been involved in waste management for over 30 years and has a PhD on landfill microbiology.

She has also been President of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, is a Chartered Waste Manager, an International Wastes Manager, a Chartered Environmentalist, and a Fellow of IOM3.

She has worked internationally with businesses and NGOs on sustainable resource and waste management.

The new UK pEPR scheme will move the cost of dealing with packaging waste away from the taxpayer and onto packaging producers.

Fees paid by packaging producers aim to incentivise them to use less packaging, recyclable packaging and to meet higher recycling targets. 

Bates will be responsible for the implementation and readiness of the Scheme Administrator in the role – the cornerstone for the delivery of the pEPR scheme from 2025 – working with Defra and the Devolved Administrations and across the whole collection and packaging value chain.

Bates says, 'I joined IOM3 soon after starting at OPRL and, via the Packaging Group, immediately felt part of the packaging family. The knowledge, networks, expertise and friendships that I have gained through my membership of IOM3 have made my job much easier and I will be relying on them in my new role.'

She also says, ‘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.

'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.'