Expanding horizons - environmental legislation

With the UK set to leave the European Union , Christie Fawke advises businesses to find out what environmental legislation is in place when looking to expand retail horizons and outlines how Valpak can help businesses to comply overseas.

With the UK set to leave the European Union (EU), does your business have plans to expand retail operations further afield?

If so, have you considered compliance with environmental legislation in other markets, or encountered difficulties understanding the complexity of such legislation?

Producer Responsibility in Europe

In 1997, the Packaging Waste Directive was implemented across Europe, shortly followed by the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Directive and the Waste Batteries Directive. These pieces of legislation aim to reduce the amount of waste entering landfill by harmonising regulations across the EU.

Producer Responsibility across the globe

EU directives have been used as templates in other regions and there are now more than 50 countries worldwide with environmental legislation in place. In addition to traditional Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation, we are also seeing an increase in bans on (single-use) plastic products and packaging across the globe. For instance, over 400 cities and states in the United States (US) have banned all sale and use of plastic carrier bags. These bans have also been mirrored in parts of the Caribbean, South America, Africa and Asia.

Furthermore, India has implemented an EPR system covering packaging and WEEE, which affects companies in a similar way to European legislation, obligating online sellers as well as those with a ‘presence’ in India.

The US and Canada have no federal legislation, but rather have state by state legislation. In the US, California has implemented the Assembly Bill 1080, also known as the California Circular Economy & Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, with the aim of reducing plastic pollution and reforming wasteful product packaging by reducing or recycling at least 75% of single-use plastic packaging and products by 2030.

Canada has also implemented a Zero Plastic Waste Strategy, which will be transposed across all provinces, banning all single use plastic by 2021. This is likely to mirror the EU Directive, which will ban all single-use plastic by 2021.

In addition, Canada has in place more traditional EPR legislation, like the system in place across Europe. This covers packaging waste, WEEE and waste batteries.

Things to consider…

If your company is looking to expand operations outside of the EU, it is important to consider what environmental legislation is in place within those countries, to ensure compliance and avoid penalties. Research into each new market is essential, as more and more countries begin to implement EPR systems and packaging restrictions.

Valpak can help

We can work with your business to ensure compliance with all necessary overseas environmental legislation and to help meet global sustainability goals, as well as calculate and complete any required data submissions. If you would like to find out more about our International Compliance services, please do not hesitate to contact us on 03450 682 572 or email us at [email protected]