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Packaging Offences Cost UK Businesses

Latest figures show that a further 16 businesses have received civil sanctions for failing to register as obligated producers, or to take reasonable steps to recycle packaging waste.

Released by the Environment Agency, the latest data shows that non-compliant businesses paid a total of £293,696 to charities between February and May this year.

The payments are agreed between companies that produce packaging waste and the Environment Agency. Under the Environmental Civil Sanctions (England) Order 2010, the companies secured an enforcement undertaking rather than face the possibility of a court appearance and potential fine.

The largest fee in this period was paid by Pentair SSC who made a contribution of just over £63,000 to Keep Britain Tidy (KBT).

Under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations, a business that produces or handles more than 50 tonnes of packaging, and has a turnover of more than £2 million, must finance the recovery and recycling of packaging materials in proportion to the amount placed on the market. Companies can do this by registering with a compliance scheme, or directly with the Environment Agency. 

Civil sanctions were introduced as an alternative to prosecution, enabling businesses who have been non-compliant with the regulations since April 2010 to offer a sum of money to a suitable environmental project in compensation.

Martin Trigg-Knight, Clarity Environmental’s Packaging Compliance Manager, said: “We urge any business that believes it may be obligated under the packaging regulations to take immediate action and avoid 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.

Martin added: “Preparing an enforcement undertaking takes a lot of work and a great deal of evidence must be provided to satisfy the regulators that the business has taken the process seriously. In most cases the civil sanction will have cost considerably more than registering for the correct number of years, but timely action will help avoid prosecution, which can do untold damage to the reputation of a business.”

The full list of enforcement undertakings are on the Environment Agency’s website.

Our approved, ethical packaging compliance scheme can handle your producer responsibility obligations on your behalf, giving you peace of mind and saving you time and money. Comply with Clarity and we will also help to ensure that your business is green enough to grow. If you believe that your business may be obligated under the packaging regulations, contact our specialist team on 0845 129 7177 for a confidential discussion about the options available to you.

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