The deadline to register your business directly with the Environment Agency passed on Tuesday 7 April 2020.
If you are obligated under the packaging regulations and failed to register your business before the deadline, you are now in breach of the regulations and must take immediate action.
Current legislation requires businesses producing or handling more than 50 tonnes of packaging in the last year, alongside a turnover of more than £2 million to comply with the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations. Introduced in 1997, these regulations require companies to finance the recovery and recycling of packaging materials in proportion to the amount they have placed on the market.
Why should you comply?
Failure to comply with the Packaging Regulations is a criminal offence and can result in prosecution and heavy penalties.
The Environment Agency has access to all companies registered either directly or with a packaging compliance scheme. It carries out audits of businesses that are not registered to determine whether the company has an obligation, and if so, why they have not registered. A fine of up to £250,000 based on the severity of the offence can be levied as well as prosecution for the most severe offences.
Next steps to take
If you believe that your business may be obligated under the regulations and you have missed the deadline to register directly with the Environment Agency, you can still register with an approved producer compliance scheme, such as Comply with Clarity, who will take on the legal obligations on behalf of your business.
There are many benefits to joining a compliance scheme, such as getting support with data submissions, and your compliance scheme will ensure your business has enough evidence of recycling to prove compliance at the end of the year, in the form of packaging recovery notes (PRNs).
Impacts of coronavirus
With many companies now facing additional pressure from the impacts of covid-19, whether you are having to furlough staff, or are experiencing reductions in business and trade, it is essential that you act now to avoid significant financial repercussions from potential prosecution.
Head of Packaging at Clarity Environmental, Martin Trigg-Knight, warns that complacency during a difficult time could severely impact businesses:
“This is an extremely difficult time for many businesses across the UK. But ensuring you are aware of your legal obligations and taking immediate action will enable you to protect your business for the long term, avoiding costly prosecution.
“The regulations were introduced to reduce the impact of the packaging we create on the environment, but we can only achieve this if all businesses understand, and act on, their responsibilities. We urge you to get in touch if you believe you could be obligated; ensuring you have everything in place to comply is the best way of protecting your business against any additional adverse impacts.”
As of 2011, Civil Sanctions have been introduced for non-compliant businesses as an alternative to prosecution. An enforcement undertaking enables businesses to offer a sum of money to a suitable environmental charity or project in compensation for not complying with the regulations. It is a legally-binding voluntary offer that is submitted to the Environment Agency, who could still decide to prosecute if not satisfied with the information and evidence put forward.
Comply with Clarity
At Clarity Environmental we have over 10 years working with the packaging regulations and our wealth of experience and knowledgeable team can ensure your business meets its obligations.
Get in touch
Companies that handle packaging in the UK are subject to the Packaging Regulations. We work with these businesses, helping them to reduce their impact on the environment and ensuring they comply with current regulations.