According to Environment Agency data, 24 companies received civil sanctions between January and August 2017 for failing to register as obligated producers, or to take reasonable steps to recycle packaging waste.
Non-compliant businesses paid a total of £879,776.25 to charities, securing an enforcement undertaking rather than face the possibility of a court appearance and potential fine. The largest fee was by supermarket chain Costcutters, who paid a contribution of £650,752.48 to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), followed by Ecover and Sofology who paid out over £33,000 and £26,000 respectively.
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 Account Manager for packaging compliance, 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.
UK businesses have paid out over £879,000 so far this year for breaching packaging waste regulations. “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 packaging compliance scheme can handle your producer responsibility obligations on your behalf, giving you peace of mind and saving you time and money. If you believe that your business may be obligated, contact our specialist team on 0845 129 7177 for a confidential discussion about the options available to you.