Unpacking the value of a compliance scheme:
How to make the right choice for your business

Ross More

Ross More
Sept 06, 2018

Are you getting the most out of your compliance scheme or simply looking for a change? Each year you have the option to resign from a scheme and shop around; however, the resignation deadline is looming!

If you don’t resign before the deadline, you will be tied into a contract with that scheme for a further year. This is a long time if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving (or not receiving in some cases) or think your scheme could be doing more.

Looking to jump ship and unsure of how to choose a scheme that is more suitable for your business’s requirements? I have put together the following list of questions to ask yourself, your scheme or the scheme you are looking to join to help with the decision-making process:

Does the scheme update customers on PRN market performance?

The Packaging Waste Recovery Note (PRN) market is unpredictable, so a good compliance scheme should be providing its members with regular updates.

Here at Valpak we send updates to our packaging compliance scheme members every two months and hold webinars every quarter. Doing so keeps our customers up-to-date with market information. We will also provide our customers with budget prices, so that they can prepare as much as possible for volatility in the PRN market.

Does the scheme offer Compliance Reviews? If so, are they included in the membership cost?

Compliance Reviews assess whether you have everything in order should your business be audited by the Environment Agency (EA) and will provide reassurance that you are prepared.

Our Compliance Reviews are designed to help our customers to be proactive and will address any issues in advance of any potential EA visit. We find that some of our customers feel nervous about impending audits, so these are great for offering peace of mind.

Everything we offer to our members is included within our membership fee, whereas we have found that some schemes charge extra for additional services.

How much experience does the scheme have?

A compliance scheme takes on your business’s legal obligation, so it is important that you are confident that the scheme that you plan to sign up with know what they are doing.

We have been operating for over 20 years and have a 100% compliance record, meaning our customers can be assured that we’ll never fail to meet their requirements.

Does the scheme meet your Consumer Information Obligation and is there an additional fee for having a selling activity?

All businesses with a primary seller activity under the Packaging Waste Regulations are required to meet the Consumer Information Obligations.

We meet our seller members’ obligations through our consumer facing recycle more website at no extra cost.

Does the scheme charge for hidden extras, such as late submission fees (beyond the EA fee), audit charges or use of the Green Dot logo?

We are aware that some schemes charge for hidden extras so that their initial fees seem reasonable compared to other schemes. It is important when making cost comparisons between schemes that this is taken into consideration as hidden costs will soon add up.

Here at Valpak we have a no hidden extras policy, meaning that everything we offer to our packaging scheme members is included in our membership fee.

Will the scheme provide training workshops to help you understand submission and regulation requirements?

We offer our members free, accessible Packaging Data Workshops, which are held in various locations across the UK.

Will the scheme inform you of regulation changes / update you on new regulations that may affect your business?

We host free Regional Forums, across the UK, to keep customers and other stakeholders up-to-date not just with packaging legislation but with wider environmental legislation that may affect them.

We also circulate an informative fortnightly news e-bulletin and host a wide array of free webinars and events covering key topics.

Does the scheme offer good customer service?

We have a strong team of technical experts, who are available 5 days a week, Monday to Friday, to offer advice and support to all our customers. Some of our experts have worked at Valpak for over 20 years and over the years have been asked many technical packaging data queries. This means we are best placed to provide expert guidance and support.

To support this, our 2017 customer survey revealed that most of our customers surveyed believe that we offer excellent customer support and a reliable service, with 98% saying that they are satisfied.

Does the scheme represent your interests / interact with government?

Our Policy Department works to keep abreast of all new legislation and requirements that may impact our compliance scheme members and engage with Government to represent the interests and views of our membership. Visit our consultations and responses web page to find out more.

In addition, our Consultancy Team have been involved in several key projects that will impact obligated businesses, such as PRN System Reform, Deposit Return Schemes for drinks containers and the Circular Economy Package.

Is it easy to submit data to the scheme?

We have an intuitive, online Members’ Area where customers can easily upload and submit data. This online submission system offers step by step interactive guidance and members can also view invoices, recorded webinars and additional guidance.

Does the scheme allow you to offset the tonnage of recycling collected from your business against your producer obligations?

Our customers have the option to lower their compliance bill by using recycling evidence (PRNs) generated from their own site waste. This can be supplied via the Valpak Recycling and Waste Management Department who work with a portfolio of compliant contractors to provide a flexible, consistent and reliable service for all types of recycling and waste.

Join Valpak

We can offer flexible cost options for our members. For example, fixed prices to provide certainty for future budgets, variable pricing or single invoices - meaning the cost of compliance is off your desk at the beginning of the year.

If you are interested in joining our Packaging Compliance Scheme for 2019 and would like a free, no obligation quote, or to discuss your requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us today via our online form or by calling

03450 682 572

or emailing

info@valpak.co.uk