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News added on 25.06.2019

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Packaging waste

Don't forget to register your packaging waste obligations

A construction materials manufacturer reported itself to the Environment Agency for failing to recover and recycle its packaging waste. What were its obligations and what was the outcome for the company?

Under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007, businesses that handle large quantities of packaging have to register with the Environment Agency (EA) as “obligated packaging producers”. These firms then have targets to meet in relation to the recovery and recycling of their packaging.

The registration requirement is triggered if a company, or its group, handled 50 tonnes of packaging materials or packaging in the previous calendar year and had a turnover of more than £2 million in the last financial year. Further information on registration can be found on the EA’s website.

Bauder Ltd, which manufactures construction materials, reported itself to the EA for failing to register and failing to take reasonable steps to recover and recycle its packaging waste over a period of 16 years.

The EA investigated and decided that it was an appropriate case to accept an enforcement undertaking. Undertakings can be accepted where a company takes responsibility for their breaches and agrees to take appropriate steps to rectify them. This company had also self-reported and had no previous convictions.

Undertakings usually involve paying a sum to a local environmental charity or project in place of a fine. Bauder Ltd offered to contribute £10,000 to Suffolk Wildlife Trust and over £9,300 to Buglife, a charity working to protect wildflower-rich meadow and grassland creation.

This company handled sufficient packaging to trigger registration with the EA. It should have registered and then met the appropriate targets for recovering and recycling its packaging waste. As the company self-reported and rectified its breaches, the EA accepted an enforcement undertaking and charitable contributions rather than taking enforcement action.

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