It was also the first conviction that covered failure to comply with rules governing all three waste materials: packaging, batteries and electrical equipment.
Below are the top three things you can do today to safeguard your business from potential prosecution:
1. Check with www.gov.uk to see what regulations affect your business
A summary of the main waste categories on www.gov.uk will enable you to see at a glance where your business could potentially qualify. For example, if your business sells electrical or electronic equipment, you must provide a way for customers to dispose of their old household item if you sell them a new version of the same. That is even the case if you sell an item over the internet, by mail order or by phone. Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to £5,000 or an unlimited fine from a Crown Court.
For packaging, you will need to provide an operational plan of how you intend to meet your packaging obligations, which will be checked throughout the year to ensure you are achieving interim deadlines or milestones.
Sellers of portable batteries meanwhile must provide a free waste collection service if they supply over 32kg of portable batteries per year. To put that into perspective, you would only need to sell one four-pack of AA batteries every day to reach that amount.
2. Don’t assume that because regulations refer to ‘Producers’ that they just mean manufactures
This is a common misconception. A ‘Producer’ is any company that handles packaging or manufactures/imports/re-brands electronics or batteries. To find out more about this issue, see our previous blog post Packaging compliance - nearly 20 years old but still a mystery.
3. Engage with your supply chain to make sure they understand their obligations
If they have not even heard about the regulations, the chances are you could be selling non-compliant products. Send them the www.gov.uk website, and ask them to check whether they could be liable across the three waste categories specified. Ask them for proof of their registration with compliance schemes.
Efforts made now towards greater compliance will stand your business in good stead when the Environment Agency comes knocking at the door.
If you are concerned about your waste obligations we offer a free compliance health check, contact us now on 0845 094 2228 to find out more.
Innovation and policy director
Robbie is innovation and policy director at Ecosurety. Having spent years building an intimate understanding of the industry’s policies and politics, he uses this knowledge to help shape new legislation and oversees Ecosurety’s growing portfolio of cross-industry innovation projects including Podback and the Flexible Plastic Fund. He has worked closely with Defra during the most recent packaging consultations, outlining the impacts and required transitional arrangements of the UK’s new EPR system and is a member of the government’s Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP). He is also a spokesperson for the company and regularly uses his influence to communicate the importance of environmental responsibility to external stakeholders.
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