Packaging Waste Regulations affect a large number of UK businesses; however,
it can be difficult and quite daunting for an individual to try and decipher whether
or not their business is affected, especially when faced with a list of criteria
the business needs to meet in order to have an obligation. I have also found that
many businesses aren’t even aware that these regulations exist.
If a company meets the thresholds of these regulations, it is legally obliged
to comply. It is therefore paramount that you check to see if your business meets
the criteria, as failure to register with the relevant environment agency and comply
can result in prosecution, financial penalties and negative publicity.
Due to the complex nature of these regulations, I can see how misunderstandings
occur, which may result in some people believing their business is exempt when in
fact the regulations do apply.
With this in mind I have produced the following list of common misconceptions,
which lead people to believe their business is not obligated, when they are actually
required to comply:
“My company has a turnover below £2 million and handles less than 50
tonnes of packaging annually; therefore, does not meet the thresholds…”
The company could still be obligated if it is part of a UK group of companies that
collectively meet the thresholds.
“My company recycles packaging / doesn’t have any packaging waste on
the premises i.e. all packaging is passed on…”
If a business performs a relevant activity on packaging, such as adding empty packaging
or supplying packaged goods to customers, which they then remove, it could still
be obligated. The regulations do not relate directly to a business’s site waste.
“My company does not add any packaging to products before passing on…”
The company could still be obligated if another relevant activity is performed,
such as supplying pre-packaged goods to customers, even if they were packed by a
“My company does not package any of the goods it sells…”
If the business sells packaged goods it has a ‘selling’ obligation for any packaging
that its customers remove. It could also be obligated if it imports goods into the
UK (even if it doesn’t handle the packaged goods).
“My business uses returnable / reusable packaging…”
If the business uses brand new returnable / reusable packaging it will be obligated
for the first use of this packaging.
“Our packaging is all second hand…”
If the business imports goods, empty packaging or raw materials, it has an obligation
on this packaging, even if it is second hand.
“We take back packaging from our customers…”
Packaging used to supply goods to another legal entity or consumer is obligated,
even if a business takes it back. For example, a retailer delivers a dishwasher
to a customer but the box is removed on site / in their vehicle it would still be
obligated for this packaging.
“We use a contract packer that adds packaging for us…”
If your business buys the packaging it would have an obligation on that packaging
as a ‘packer/filler’, even if it doesn’t own the packaging when it is added. It
would be obligated as a ‘seller’ if a customer removes the packaging.
“Our customers do not remove any packaging…”
The business is still obligated if it:
- adds products to empty packaging
- imports packaged goods
- imports raw materials or components
“My business doesn’t make packaging; add packaging or supply packaging
If a business imports raw materials, components or goods for business use it could
still be obligated.
Valpak can help
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.
Packaging Compliance page for further information or take our
quick and easy
“Are you obligated” test.