If your business has a turnover of £2 million or above and you handled over 50 tonnes of packaging in the last calendar year, you should be abiding by the Packaging Waste Regulations.
What are the packaging waste regulations?
The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations were implemented in 1997 with the aim of reducing the amount of packaging going to landfill and increasing the amount of packaging that’s recycled.
The regulations mean that obligated packaging producers have a legal responsibility to hit specific waste packaging recycling and recovery targets every year.
Am I an obligated packaging producer?
If your company’s turnover was £2 million or above in the last tax year and you handled over 50 tonnes of packaging in the last calendar year, you need to register as a packaging producer. ‘Handling’ packaging can include everything from filling boxes to stretch wrapping pallets to selling clothes with their hangers.
How to register as a packaging producer:
You need to register by 7th April every year, either directly with the National Packaging Waste Database or through a compliance scheme.
You’ll need to know the weight of the packaging you handled in the last calendar year and show how you worked this out.
Once you submit your details you’re given a waste recycling and recovery target.
By registering, you’re committing to meeting this target and submitting a compliance certificate by 31st January every year.
Should I register directly or through a compliance scheme?
It’s your choice.
If you register directly, you’re responsible for providing evidence of your compliance and submitting it yourself. The National Packaging Waste Database will then produce your compliance certificate which tells you if you’ve met your targets. You then need to check it’s correct and sign it off.
If you register through a compliance scheme, the scheme will use the evidence you give them to submit the compliance certificate on your behalf.
What evidence do I need to show I’ve met my targets?
You need to submit evidence of the packaging waste you’ve recycled or recovered up to the weight target you’ve been given. To do this, you’ll need to get electronic packaging recovery or export notes from accredited exporters or re-processors.
What happens if I don’t register or meet my targets?
You can be prosecuted or fined if you don’t meet your targets or register as a packaging producer (if you are one). There’s also additional fees for late registrations, so make sure you register on time.
For further information about the Packaging Waste Regulations, this guide on the UK Government’s website goes into more detail about the process