Packaging Compliance

The word compliance means conforming to a rule, such as a specification, policy, standard or law, and packaging compliance is where businesses that meet criteria set by the Packaging Waste Regulations have taken steps to comply with the requirements of this piece of legislation.

Who needs packaging compliance?

Not all businesses are affected by the Packaging Waste Regulations. A business needs to meet a certain set of criteria in order to be obligated; however, due to the complex nature of these Regulations, misunderstandings can occur, which may mean obligated businesses do not realise they are required to comply, or may believe they don’t need to comply. It is therefore extremely important that checks are made and expert advice is sought in order to establish what, if any, obligations a business may have, as non-compliance may result in hefty fines and/ or damage to business reputation.

Who is affected?

Your business has a packaging obligation if ALL of the following points apply:

  • Its annual UK turnover exceeds £2 million, AND

  • It performs a packaging activity on any of the packaging handled, AND

  • It owns the packaging or packaging materials handled, AND

  • It handles more than 50 tonnes of packaging and/or packaging materials

Are you obligated under
the Packaging Waste

Take Test obligationBannerPic

In order to help businesses determine whether or not they are obligated, we have created an easy to use, online “Are You Obligated” tool. In addition, a list of common misunderstandings can be found in our Blog “Unpacking the myths of the Packaging Waste Regulations”.

Other things you should be aware of:

  • Your organisation can be obligated if it is part of a group that collectively exceeds the thresholds outlined above, even if it doesn’t meet the thresholds on its own
  • Northern Ireland has its own Packaging Waste Regulations, which means that organisations with operations in Northern Ireland will need to register these separately with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency

Your business could be affected by other producer responsibility legislation. Find out more here.

What is a packaging compliance scheme?

When the Packaging Waste Regulations first came into force in 1997, a group of obligated businesses collaborated to create Valpak, the UK’s first ever packaging compliance scheme, as a means to outsource legal compliance to a third party.

Businesses that choose to become members of a packaging compliance scheme will be able to outsource a number of activities. Valpak will:

  • take on a business’s legal responsibility for packaging compliance
  • calculate packaging obligations
  • purchase recycling evidence (Packaging Waste Recovery Notes) on behalf of a business to offset its obligation
  • register a business with the appropriate environment agency

Please note that businesses do not need to join a packaging compliance scheme to ensure compliance. There is the option to register directly with the appropriate environment agency; however, packaging compliance schemes help to alleviate the burden of what can be a complex and onerous task.

How Valpak can help with packaging compliance

There are additional benefits to joining a compliance scheme and other Valpak membership benefits include:

  • access to fully trained experts who can be contacted for help and advice
  • access to a unique online data submission system offering interactive guidance
  • free regional training workshops
  • free compliance reviews
  • industry news e-bulletins
  • access to a dedicated Member Area of the website
  • Consumer Information Obligations (CIOs) met on your behalf
  • free use of the Green Dot symbol
  • a certificate of compliance
  • policy input and strategic advice to Government and Devolved Administrations

Fully outsourced solutions

Have you found gathering and submitting your data to be a demanding and time consuming process? Valpak also offers businesses the option to fully outsource data collection and submission to the Valpak Data Management Team.

We can offer support and help collecting packaging weights information or the entire data submission process can be outsourced to us. Our service can be tailored to suit your business needs.

Visit our Data Management Consultancy web page for further information, or contact us today for a free quote or to discuss your business’s requirements.

How much will compliance cost?

There are three sets of fees that your organisation will need to pay in order to become compliant with the regulations:

  1. Agency fees – everyone has to pay a set environment agency registration fee each year
  2. Annual Membership fee – this covers our administration costs of checking and verifying data
  3. PRN fees – this is the cost of procuring recycling evidence notes needed to meet the organisation's obligation

If you would like more details about how we can assist with your business's compliance or you would like a compliance cost forecast, please contact one of our dedicated technical advisors on 03450 682 572 or complete our online enquiry form.

Scheme Reference Numbers:
Environment Agency: ES19971043
SEPA: SS081997102
NIEA: NPWD109339