UK’s Defra announces appointment of Dr. Margaret Bates as head of the UK Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging Scheme Administrator; Bates is managing director of OPRL, will take up the role on secondment for up to two years

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January 4, 2024 (press release) –

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


Following a rigorous recruitment campaign, Dr Margaret Bates has been appointed to the role of Head for the UK Extended Producer Responsibility (pEPR) for Packaging Scheme Administrator. Dr Bates is the Managing Director of OPRL, the not-for-profit company which 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. 

The new UK pEPR scheme will move the cost of dealing with packaging waste away from the taxpayer and on to packaging producers, who will pay for the full cost of managing packaging waste from households. Through the fees they pay, producers will be incentivised to use less packaging, to use packaging that can be recycled, and to meet higher recycling targets. 

In the role, Dr Bates will be responsible for the implementation and readiness of the Scheme Administrator – 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; bringing together talented individuals who are passionate about recycling and the environment.

Commenting on her appointment, Dr Margaret Bates said:

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.

Dr Stewart Davies, Chair at OPRL, added:

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. OPRL was born out of a need by producers and retailers for labelling that gives consumers confidence in recycling, and our collaboration with material organisations, recyclers and local authority groups ensures a commitment to whole-chain solutions. Our producer and consumer surveys also keep us up to date on market thinking, and it is this industry-wide network which will form a secure base for EPR implementation.

Margaret is currently the Managing Director of On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) and has led the organisation 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 was previously 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.

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