Monitoring activity of producers by EA increase

The Environment Agency has increased monitoring by 95% of registered packaging producers in 2019 compared to 2018. They also investigate those that are potentially obligated by the regulations. Taran Rai, Senior Environmental Compliance Advisor talks about how companies check that they are obligated and what options they can take to start complying.

Environment Agency increase investigation of potential “freeriders”

The Environment Agency carry out compliance monitoring of packaging producers each year and have recently published the results of their enforcement activity from 2019. Part of this monitoring activity involves auditing packaging producers obligated under the Packaging Waste Regulations, with 109 audits taking place in 2019 – an increase of 95% from 56 in 2018. In addition to ensuring the accuracy of registered producers, the Environment Agency also investigate potential “freeriders” – those that are obligated under the regulations, but have not registered with the Environment Agency. During 2019 the Environment Agency contacted 90 potential freeriders, an increase of 67% from 54 in 2018. Part of the investigation of freeriders involves looking at whether these companies have also been non-compliant with the regulations in previous years and if so, the Environment Agency can use the enforcement options available to them to bring these companies into compliance.

Civil sanctions

One enforcement option available to the Environment Agency, known as civil sanctions, is an Enforcement Undertaking which involves making a donation to an environmental project to offset any previous years of non-compliance with the packaging waste regulations. Enforcement Undertaking offers can be made voluntarily by producers who have themselves realised that they have not complied correctly in the past, or reactively if requested by the Environment Agency. The introduction of enforcement undertakings in 2011 provided the Environment Agency with alternative types of enforcement action (rather than variable monetary penalties or prosecution) and since they were introduced the Environment Agency have accepted 285 offers, resulting in over £6 million being donated to environmental projects.

Helping your business comply

At Valpak we offer a civil sanctions service whereby we can assist in completing an Enforcement Undertaking offer for previous years of non-compliance. Our services include:

  • Completing and submitting the Enforcement Undertaking offer to the Environment Agency
  • Calculating the costs avoided by not complying with the Packaging Waste Regulations using an Environment Agency approved methodology and prices
  • Sourcing an appropriate relevant environmental project
  • Assisting with any follow up queries from the Environment Agency

Since the regulations were introduced in 2011, Valpak has assisted with over 100 enforcement undertaking offers and so we have extensive experience in helping our members to ensure compliance with the regulations.

Do you think you’re obligated?

If you are unsure if your business is affected by the Packaging Waste Regulations please do not hesitate to get in touch. We will talk you through what you need to do and will provide specific guidance.

Visit our Packaging Compliance page for further information or take our quick and easy “Are you obligated” test.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog represent those of the individual authors and not those of Valpak Limited or any other organisation.