Bahlsen LLP, a European biscuit producer, has made a donation of almost £40,000 after not being registered under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations for 15 years.
UK companies that have a turnover greater than £2million and handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging a year are required to register either directly with the appropriate agency or with a Packaging Compliance Scheme, such as ecosurety.
Many UK businesses are still unaware of their obligations or at worst are turning a blind eye. Last year we published an article, Packaging compliance nearly 20 years old and still a mystery, warning how businesses could misinterpret the regulations which can lead them down the route of non-compliance.
Non-compliance means an unfair financial advantage
Businesses who do not register when they are obligated to do so are gaining an “unfair financial advantage” against registered competitors in the eyes of the Environment Agency, hence why ultimately many make a financial offering via a Civil Sanction (also known as an Enforcement Undertaking).
Between August and December 2015, over £75,000 was donated though this process, bringing the total to over £1.5 million since Civil Sanction became available for failures under the packaging regulations. Sanjiv Syal of the Environment Agency commented “The use of Civil Sanctions, where appropriate, can offer benefits to the environment and the wider world by using resources wisely and allowing the company to get back into compliance, whilst still accepting financial responsibility for its breaches.”.
Understand your obligations
These financial contributions are made to recompense the costs, including Environment Agency fees and PRNs, that they should have paid in previous years. This often exceeds the costs which would have been paid if the producer had registered when they should have. This emphasises the importance to understand your obligations - conduct a thorough review of the packaging you are handling and ensure your organisation is registered at the earliest possibility.
If you think your business might be obligated or just want to understand the regulations in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact our team of specialists. Our role is to provide industry support and advice to ensure businesses are fully compliant, in what can often be a grey and complex area.
James Piper is managing director of Ecosurety. As well as providing a consistently high service to our customer base of over 1,000 companies, James is driven to bring about positive change in the compliance market through increased transparency and accountability. Since taking the position of MD in 2016, James has worked to demonstrate that recycling compliance need not be perceived as a tax, but an opportunity for brands to align their producer responsibility obligations with their sustainability agenda.
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