Defra appoints former CIWM president as Head of EPR scheme


Margaret Bates

The UK government has appointed the Managing Director of On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) Dr Margaret Bates as the Head of the UK Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging (pEPR) Scheme Administrator.

Dr Bates, CIWM (Chartered Institution of Wastes Management) President between October 2016 and October 2017, will take up the role on secondment for up to two years. She is a Chartered Waste Manager, an International Wastes Manager, and a Chartered Environmentalist.

In the role, Dr Bates will be responsible for the implementation and readiness of the pEPR Scheme Administrator. She will work with Defra (The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), the Devolved Administration and the whole collection and packaging value chain.

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 EPR 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 Bates has been the Managing Director of OPRL since 2020 and has a PhD in landfill microbiology. Previously, she was a Professor of Sustainable Waste Management at the University of Northampton.

Dr Stewart Davies, Chair at OPRL, said the not-for-profit company OPRL is “immensely proud” and called the pEPR scheme an “important step toward the circular economy in packaging”.

Last year, the UK government announced it had deferred its EPR scheme until October 2025. Defra said the decision was taken jointly with the devolved administrations and followed “extensive engagement” with industry and will help “drive down inflation”.

Commenting on the appointment, Lee Marshall, Policy and External Affairs Director, CIWM, said: “CIWM congratulate Dr Margaret Bates on her appointment as Head of the EPR Scheme Administrator. Margaret brings a unique breadth of experience from the resources and waste, packing and academic sectors that the scheme administrator will benefit greatly from.

“The fact that Margaret is a former President of the Institution will no doubt have been a factor in her appointment, and we look forward to working with her again in this new role as we move to a world beyond waste.”

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