0845 094 2228

Additional packaging compliance guidance

Understanding the producer responsibility regulations is a little daunting to the uninitiated. While we can take the legwork out of this complex legislation for all members of our packaging compliance scheme, it helps to have a better understanding so you can answer the inevitable questions that will come from elsewhere in your organisation.

Free webinars

Get up to speed quickly with one of our free training webinars, covering the nuts and bolts of each legislation as well as waste and recycling practices.

Book a webinar > 

Face to face seminars

If several members of your organisation are keen to get up to date with the latest packaging compliance legislation, an onsite seminar, led by one of our technical compliance specialists, is a great way to ensure a deeper understanding of the subject area. 

Book a seminar >


Frequently Asked Questions


How much is 50 tonnes?

50 tonnes sounds like a lot but when you break it down over 12 months, it’s surprising how quickly it adds up. To offer an idea, it equates to weekly sales of :

  • just 39 wooden pallets
  • 1,427 large cardboard boxes (470x400x517mm)
  • 2,854 shoe boxes
  • 4,370 shrink wrapped pallets
  • 4,421 glass bottles (330ml)

Download our handy guide to how much is 50 tonnes >


What is a Packaging Recovery Note or a PRN?

Accredited recyclers and exporters will collect and recycle packaging waste on your behalf. Recyclers then issue evidence for every tonne that they recycle in a year. This evidence is a Packaging Recovery Note or PRN for short. It’s also worth noting that a PRN is material specific e.g. 1 tonne of paper packaging creates 1 paper PRN. At Ecosurety, we work hard on your behalf to secure PRNs at the lowest possible price for you.


What if I don’t know for sure the weight of all of our product packaging?

We offer a pack weighing service to resolve exactly this problem. In fact, before we get to work with any customer, we will sit down and get to know your business, reviewing what arrangements you have in place and making plans for any improvements right from the start. We can also build you a bespoke weight database too.


What if some of our packaging is produced for an international market?

Any packaging that is exported outside the UK either by your business or a third party is deducted from your packaging handled obligation, quite simply because that packaging won’t then become waste in the UK. However, you may find that if you’re exporting directly into other EU states, you will have obligations in those countries too as the Producer Responsibility Regulations are EU wide. The tonnage thresholds vary, however, from country to country.

Also worth noting – if a large proportion of your business is in exports, that may bring your UK packaging obligation below the 50 tonnes threshold and you will not need to comply.

If you want to find out more about compliance outside of the UK, we have specialist teams that can help so please do get in touch.


What if I don’t comply?

In a nutshell, if you fail to meet your legal obligations, you may face prosecution under criminal law.

Note: ignorance of the regulations is not a defence and every year of non-compliance counts against you. In England and Wales there are also civil penalties including:

  • fixed penalty fines for minor offences
  • higher fines for more serious offences
  • an enforcement undertaking (also known as a civil sanction)

Unfortunately, history tells us this is not an empty threat. Several companies have been fined in court for non-compliance, most notably Red Bull (£271k), Pizza Express (£75k) and Porsche (£25k). A slight silver lining emerged in 2011, when the Environment Agency introduced civil sanctions for companies based in England and Wales, allowing a company to volunteer the costs that they should have paid during non-compliant years under the regulations and donate it to charity. This means a company can at least avoid a costly and negative prosecution.

It’s fair to say it’s easier to comply than risk the fall-out from non-compliance.


What if I am already subject to a civil sanction?

We’re really sorry to hear that but we can of course help. The good news is we’ve helped many companies with their civil sanction requirements, taking advantage of the expertise and knowledge we have built up over the years to provide a simple and cost effective solution to putting things right. The best course of action is to pick up the phone and discuss the specifics of the sanction with one of our technical advisers as every case is different. You can reach us on 0845 094 2228.


How much does it cost to join your packaging compliance scheme?

There are three main fees that a packaging producer pays each year with a scheme:

  • Relevant agency fee (same across all schemes)
    £345 (available to businesses with turnover of £2m-£5m)
    £564 (businesses with +£5m turnover)

  • Scheme membership fee
    Starting from as little as £450 (or even less if you qualify for a multi-regulation discount)

  • Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs)
    These vary based on each material and are charged based on a company’s obligation. The prices are subject to supply and demand, something we proactively monitor 24x7, securing the most cost effective rates for our members. But typically they will vary each month. PRNs are invoiced quarterly.


What additional services do you offer?

Thought you’d never ask! In addition to our standard services, we offer: 

  • Sales report analysis
  • Supplier liaison
  • Pack weighing
  • Producing bespoke weight databases
  • PRN procurement and data support for direct registrants
  • Producing internal & external methodology
  • EA audit preparation and support
  • Advice on packaging light-weighting and eco-design
  • Preparation of Civil Sanction resolutions
  • ISO certification support
  • Green dot licensing

 Find out more about our additional services >


For all your packaging compliance queries, get in touch now >


Please tell us about the services you are interested in and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

Register Interest


8 reasons to switch
to Ecosurety for packaging compliance Click here


Discover our
additional services
Bespoke analysis and support Click here


Useful links

Unconfirmed Q1 packaging recycling data shows surprise results

Figures generated on the NPWD website show some interesting results, if they turn out to be correct once validated by the Environment Agency.


Webinar: Packaging compliance 2017 Q2 commercial update

Join our specialists in this free webinar to understanding exactly what makes up your compliance costs with a refresher on how your PRN obligation is calculated and an overview of current market trends. 
This webinar is CPD accredited.


Export woes continue to push up the price of plastic PRNs for producers

Troubles in the export market for plastic waste are having significant impacts on the price of plastic PERNs.



Events & training

Webinar: Batteries and WEEE collections for obligated producers



Webinar: Circular Economy Package: waste legislation and policy changes 2017



Webinar: Circularety update