UK Packaging Waste Regulations

The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations were introduced in 1997 with the aim of reducing the amount of packaging waste ending up in landfill


Valpak can help

Valpak was the first ever UK compliance scheme created by industry as a means of outsourcing the onerous task of complying with the UK Packaging Waste Regulations.

We offer a range of services to assist companies with packaging compliance. Visit our Packaging Compliance page to find out if your business is obligated and how we can help.


The Packaging Waste Regulations was the first piece of producer responsibility legislation in the UK, and works on the principle of shared producer responsibility.

They require packaging producers (businesses that perform an activity on packaging) to take responsibility for their environmental impact and obligated producers must pay a proportion of the cost of the recovery and recycling of packaging via the purchase of certificates or recycling evidence, otherwise known as Packaging Waste Recovery Notes (PRNs).


Forthcoming changes to the Packaging Waste Regulations will see costs increase significantly for producers of packaging in the UK. Visit our Packaging Legislation Reform web page to find out more.

They were introduced with the aim of:

  • Reducing the amount of packaging waste going to landfill
  • Controlling the amount of heavy metals used in packaging
  • Ensuring packaging fulfils its essential requirements


They consist of the following three sets of Regulations:

  1. The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 (as amended)
  2. The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 (as amended)
  3. The Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations 2015

If a business is found to be non-compliant with the Packaging Waste Regulations it could face criminal prosecution and / or monetary fines. However, the introduction of Civil Sanctions now means that this isn’t always the outcome for non-compliant businesses based in England, Wales and Scotland.

Obligated organisations must:

  • Register with the appropriate environment agency. This can be done either directly with the environment agency or organisations can join Valpak
  • Complete an annual data submission detailing the amount of packaging handled
  • Calculate their obligation i.e. how much packaging waste they must pay towards getting recycled; use our Packaging Obligation Calculator
  • Provide recycling information to consumers if packaging is supplied to end users (Consumer Information Obligations)
  • Meet obligation by procuring recycling evidence notes (PRNs)