More than £90,000 was donated to charity in enforcement undertakings by companies who had breached packaging waste regulations between 1 June and 30 September 2020.
In total, the Environment Agency reported enforcement undertakings topping £1.4 million in this period, which also included donations for permitting regulation breaches.
The previous period, covering 1 December 2019 to 31 May 2020, saw the Agency accept donations to charity totalling more than £1.6 million as enforcement undertakings. This included a total contribution of more than £1.3 million for permitting breaches and more than £305,000 for breaching packaging waste regulations.
Any company handling more than 50 tonnes of packaging waste and with a turnover of more than £2 million has obligations under The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007. Those who do not uphold these obligations face possible court action.
When found to be in breach of regulations – usually by not signing up to a packaging waste compliance scheme – a company proposes improvements to its operations and makes an offer to the Environment Agency to compensate. The Agency then decides its next course of action.
The undertakings scheme allows businesses to avoid possible court action and instead make voluntary donations if they have breached, or appear likely to have breached, environmental regulations. These donations go to various charities chosen by those who do not uphold the obligations.
Concerns have been expressed from some within the industry that money paid for recycling breaches goes to charities which, while good causes, are not relevant to recycling.
The Agency says it does not control which charity receives the money, but several offers it has accepted have included payments to raise awareness in schools of the environmental damage caused by packaging waste (see letsrecycle.com story).
Several companies made contributions to charity after failing to register under the UK’s PRN system and failing to take “reasonable steps” to recover and recycle packaging waste between 1 June and 30 September 2020. In total, companies donated more than £90,461.47 to charity.
The largest contribution was made by vehicle parts supplier Alliance Automotive UK Limited, who donated £14,793 to Keep Britain Tidy.
Another company to contribute a large sum was printing services company Ingleby (1884) Limited, which donated £11,800 to The Woodland Trust.
Keep Britain Tidy also received £5,578.71 from footwear company Ariat Europe Limited, £3,050 from clothes manufacturing brand Massimo Dutti UK Limited, £1,950 from clothing and accessories retailer Pull & Bear Limited, £4,200 from retail company Zara Home UK Limited and £3,800 from clothing retailer Bershka UK Limited.
Alongside their donations to Keep Britain Tidy, Bershka, Zara Home, Pull & Bear and Massimo Dutti each made contributions of the same value to the Marine Conservation Society.
Another company to donate to the Marine Conservation Society was specialist pharmaceutical company Norgine Pharmaceuticals Limited, which contributed £12,650.
Tobacco company Philip Morris Limited contributed £3,438.11 to Trees for Cities, food manufacturer Class Delta Limited contributed £6,592.57 to Recycling Lives Charity and food contracting services company Healthy Kids Limited contributed £5,205.14 to the Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP).
Doorset supplier Integrated Doorset Solutions Limited donated £4,019.94 to the Leicestershire and Rutland Organisation for the Relief of Suffering Limited and clothing company Ashworth and Parker Limited donated £6,534 to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.
As part of the undertakings each company also agreed to register with a compliance scheme.
Enforcement undertakings were also paid by several companies for breaching regulations relating to the Environmental Permitting Regulations of 2016. In total these companies donated £1,357,000 to charity.
For failing to comply with a permit condition at the Victrex Technology Centre, Lancashire, in June 2018, Veolia Energy & Utility Services UK PLC contributed £45,000 to the Lancashire Wildlife Trust.
Construction industry supplier Mick George Limited contributed £30,000 to The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire for failing to comply with a permit condition at the Rushton Landfill Site, Northamptonshire, between March and April 2018.
Source: letsrecycle.com Packaging