EPR: How we can help

We know EPR is complex, overwhelming, financially challenging yet principally the right thing to do. 

In my previous blogs ‘What is EPR?‘ and ‘Managing EPR‘ I explored what, who, when and how much EPR will affect organisations and the process, challenges and the need for granular packaging data. The two key messages I hope you can take from our EPR series is be proactive and act now and you are not alone

At Aura we pride ourselves on providing solution based services to meet our client’s needs. As EPR and packaging legislation has ramped up over the last 5 years our services have evolved to meet these ever-growing needs.  

Understanding country / state requirements 

The first 2 steps in our EPR process are Research and Plan, both of which are underpinned by knowledge. Knowledge of the legislative requirements for each of the markets / countries you sell your products in is essential. One of the most common assumptions we see is companies assuming that they are compliant globally because they are compliant in one European country. Please do not make this mistake. Compliance in France or Germany or the UK does not automatically mean compliance across Europe, or that the requirements are more stringent in Europe therefore you will comply in the US.  

EU legislation may be in place, however each country interprets this to work for their individual infrastructures. You need to research each country or state and understand your obligations. 

It is virtually impossible for internal teams of large brands to stay on top of global regulations and how it affects their business, due to the magnitude and speed of change globally.

Gillian Garside-Wight, Aura

One of the largest consulting projects we have undertaken in recent years was for a global fast food restaurant, known for their amazing subs. Their challenge was the same as many global brands; what are its obligations and what does it mean to the business? This is virtually impossible for internal teams to stay on top of due to the magnitude and speed of change globally, especially when internal colleagues rarely get to focus on this alone. This project spanned 53 countries and required our full team of packaging legislative consultants to research, analyse and present what its obligations were by country / state – which was no small task! To remain compliant this research is continual, at Aura we review at least every 6 months to ensure our knowledge is relevant. 

Image: Szymon12455

A system to capture granular packaging specifications 

Beyond knowing your legislative obligations, the next priority is to capture your packaging specification data. The days of high-level packaging specifications are a distant memory, the needs of today are for packaging data at a granular level; more and better data than the packaging sector has ever had the need or desire to supply. 

This is the very reason we have developed the e-halo programme, our proprietary packaging technical and sustainability database with supporting services. Our unrivalled e-halo programme drives the collection of accurate packaging specifications at component level and Bill of Materials, while ensuring efficiency throughout the entire packaging supply chain. These benefits are enjoyed by several global businesses where e-halo is the central repository for all their structural packaging data, the added benefits of e-halo, on top of EPR data collection, include: 

  • Packaging data captured at point of supplier selection, ensuring live and accurate information 
  • Recycling evaluation against country-specific requirements 
  • Legislative compliance on packaging attributes – material, colour, additive, coating, etc 
  • Extensive reporting dashboards 
  • Strategically, e-halo also enables retailer / brand clients to prioritise future development efforts to mitigate risk and drive positive focus on their sustainability targets. 

The whole process of data collection (once you know what to collect) is complex, the Aura team are here to guide all stakeholders through this process and ultimately ensure that live and accurate data is used to drive business and sustainability objectives.  

Image: e-halo packaging dashboard

Evaluation of EPR costs  

Budgeting for EPR is no small task and in most cases the direct financial impact can be calculated in retrospect quite quickly, however the total cost to business is trickier. You need to ensure you resource up for EPR from managing the data collection process to cleansing the data and the actual submissions. 

At Aura we want to make the process as seamless as possible, we also know that retailer implemented systems can cause significant upheaval for the entire product and packaging supply base. Not only is e-halo designed to improve efficiency with our unique one-to-many architecture but we also have a dedicated team of Supplier Success Managers and a Technical Compliance team on hand to guide all stakeholders through the process, ensure the data is collected, provide training and technically cleanse poor data submissions. 

For businesses to truly manage their EPR costs they need to be proactive: total cost of goods (including EPR fees) should be evaluated at the point of supplier / packaging selection. The only way to do this is by integrating the data collection process into your standard launch programme, something the Aura team have decades of knowledge in. It is this knowledge and experience, coupled with the e-halo programme, that has driven significant improvements for global retail giants. 

Image: Marques Thomas


Should you just accept your budgeted EPR fees year on year or should you manage out excessive contributions to your obligations? 

Sustainable packaging selection (with the lowest possible EPR fees) should not be a compromise, it just requires innovative thinking. Incorporate recycled content, select highly recyclable materials, reduce or eliminate single use materials without compromising on the quality or user / consumer experience. 

The Aura team worked with Remington, Spectrum Brands on a new packaging solution that not only improved product display and made for a better customer experience but also removed the need for excessive single use plastics, improved recyclability and reduced future UK EPR fees. We are also very proud to say this solution won the Gold Award in the Best New Design and Packaging Product category at the UK Pure Beauty Awards 2022

Image: Pure Beauty Magazine

Continual NOT once a year! 

At Aura we have a dedicated consultancy team constantly staying on top of global packaging legislation, let us take away the strain of maintaining your knowledge base.

Gillian Garside-Wight, Aura

The whole EPR process is complex, there’s no getting away from it. It is also continual. Global EPR requirements are changing constantly and you need to always be aware of your obligations while managing your data collection, your resources and designing out complexities which will inevitably lead to higher EPR fees. Even if you are not directly financially obligated, it is highly likely that you will be obligated to report on your packaging data. 

At Aura we have a dedicated consultancy team constantly staying on top of global packaging legislation, let us take away the strain of maintaining your knowledge base. With six-monthly updates, we can provide the requirements for your countries of sale including EPR and all your packaging data submissions. Or if you have this covered and need access to an industry leading technical and sustainability programme to manage and drive your packaging aspirations from EPR data to achieving your strategic goals, we have the solution: e-halo. Let us do the heavy lifting for you, freeing you, and your teams, up to focus on the value-add.  

Whatever you do, do something and do it now. If we can support you in the process please get in touch.

Gillian Garside-Wight Consulting Director

About the Author

Gill leads our consulting offer, with over 20 years’ experience in the packaging industry, strategically developing packaging strategies, roadmaps and packaging solutions to meet the needs of clients, consumers and the planet. She has worked with many global retailers and household brands on projects spanning sustainability and innovation to supply chain optimization. With a real passion for sustainability, her quest is to educate, influence and drive a circular economy wherever possible while complementing creativity, technical functionality and commercial realities.

Gill grew up on a tiny island in Scotland and this is where her passion for sustainability started. She loves nothing more than (trying) to grow her own veg and exploring nature with her son.