1 September 2016 by Tom Goulding

Businesses pay £300,000 for packaging non-compliance

Businesses which failed to comply with the Packaging Waste Regulations donated an estimated £304,000 to charities to avoid legal action between January and July 2016.

Data published by the Environment Agency lists 14 companies who received civil sanctions from the Environment Agency for failing to register as obligated producers or to take reasonable steps to recycle packaging waste.

Bahlsen biscuit packaging. Picture: George W. Bailey, Shutterstock

Bahlsen biscuit packaging. The firm made a financial contribution after breaching the regulations. (Picture: George W. Bailey, Shutterstock)

The Woodland Trust received the majority of financial contributions over the period, receiving total donations of £144,000.

Published in August, the list also includes businesses which were imposed on or accepted civil sanctions for other environmental offences such as water discharge. The list may also include details of enforcement undertakings accepted between August and December 2015, but not previously published.

Under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007, businesses that make or use more than 50 tonnes of packaging per year have a legal obligation to ensure that a proportion of what they place on the market is recovered and recycled.

Many businesses will choose to register with a packaging compliance scheme, which for a fee will ensure they are meeting the obligation.

By not being registered under the regulations, businesses will have saved money by not having to buy packaging waste recovery notes (PRNs). However some companies are thought to be unaware of the rules, particularly those which become eligible once they pass the 50 tonne threshold.

Rather than facing the possibility of a court appearance and a potential fine, the firms took up an option given to them by the Environment Agency of donating money to charity – known as enforcement undertakings.

Gonzalez Byass

The largest fee paid out for packaging non-compliance over the six month period was by wine and sherry producer Gonzalez Byass UK Limited, which failed to register with a scheme and take steps to recycle packaging. It paid a contribution of £120,000 to the Woodland Trust and has since registered with Biffpack.

Biscuit producer Bahlsen Management Limited, fruit and vegetable supplier Cobell Limited, and Hameln Pharmaceuticals Limited were similarly all also found not to have registered, and agreed to contribute £39,800, £33,723, and £35,000 respectively.

Aside from the Woodland Trust, other charities to benefit from the enforcement undertakings include the New Forest Trust, the Marine Conservation Society, the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Dorset, Sussex and Kent Wildlife Trusts, Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum, the British Beekeepers Association, Carrymoor Environmental Trust, Howhill Trust, and Freshwater Habitats Trust.

Prevention

Peter Kellett, director of legal services at the Environment Agency, said: “Enforcement undertakings allow those who commit offences to restore the environment and to take steps to prevent a recurrence. When appropriate, they allow a quicker resolution than a prosecution and help offenders who are prepared to take responsibility for their actions to put things right voluntarily working with their local communities.”

The full list of companies which failed to register with compliance schemes and/or recycle packaging waste is:

  • Bahlsen Management Limited
  • Cobell Limited
  • Cracker Drinks Co. Limited
  • Frobishers Juices Limited
  • Garden Selections Limited
  • Gonzalez Byass UK Limited
  • Hameln Pharmaceuticals Limited
  • Lamberts Healthcare Limited
  • Lyme Bay Cider Company Limited
  • Paperchase Products Limited
  • Phaseolus Limited
  • Probiotics International Limited
  • Syncreon Technology (UK) Limited
  • Trelleborg Holdings UK Limited
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