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Over recent years the Environment Agency has made it clear that it has no difficulties in prosecuting companies for non-registration under Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007, as amended in 2010. Vigilance is therefore required.

What Are The Regulations Concerned With?

The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations apply to any UK company (or group of companies) with an annual turnover of more than £2 million, which handles more than 50 tonnes of packaging every year and is involved in one or more activities which are listed within the Regulations. These activities range from the manufacturing of raw materials for packaging to the actual placing of goods or products into packaging. The Regulations state that these obligated companies must register with the Environment Agency or a compliance scheme in order to comply and avoid prosecution. This is an annual obligation.

The Regulations stem from a European Directive (94/62/EC).The aim of this directive was to ensure a common approach was adopted within the EU to the management of packaging and packaging waste. The main aim was to increase the recycling of packaging in the EU but also ultimately to try to reduce the amount of packaging which is used. A revised Directive in 2004 set clear recycling targets which all relevant companies in the UK had to achieve by December 2008. It is worth noting that your obligations under these Regulations will be dependent on the amount of waste you are introducing to the UK rather than the volume of waste you generate.

What Are The Risks of Non-Compliance?

Since 2009 the Environment Agency has prosecuted numerous companies for falling short of these Regulations by failing to register with the Environment Agency or a valid compliance scheme. Depending on the number of years of non-compliance the punishment for such can be an unlimited fine in the Crown Court and can reach many thousands of pounds not to mention the attached criminal record for the corporate.

How Can We Help?

Irwin Mitchell has an expert environmental regulatory team who has expertise in this area and would be happy to provide advice with regard to Environment Agency Prosecutions and also the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007. In particular we have experience in representing corporate bodies at interviews under caution which will be carried out by the Environment Agency as one of the first investigatory steps.

If you would like more information on this topic or an initial discussion with no obligation please call Paul Haycock on 0114 274 4275.