The Waste Packaging Regulations are often viewed by some producers as being burdensome, costly and just more government red tape.
At face value, it is easy to appreciate why some producers take this position.
It can take weeks to collate the required data, followed by an annual bill for a non-visible output. Moreover, because it does not directly offset or reduce your obligation, it can feel like there is seemingly no benefit from doing in-house recycling or using packaging from recycled materials, while the cost of complying is sometimes disproportionate to a producer’s own time spent doing it.
Turning negatives into positives
Over the years, producers have taken it on themselves to reverse these negatives into positive solutions for their businesses. When the regulations were implemented into UK law, one of the key aims was to encourage the reduction and minimisation of packaging. The UK did this by placing different percentages of obligation within the supply chain so that a business’s packaging obligations rose in proportion to the amount handled.
As a result, many companies began reviewing the packaging they were using, the size of material around their own products and discussing with suppliers the packaging they were receiving from them. They became much more aware of their supply chain and exactly what materials and tonnage they were putting onto the market, and subsequently into the waste stream.
Reducing your costs
One of the more effective areas that producers can make an impact is the packaging around their own products. Simply put, you will have much more control and power over this area of your business, and the subsequent arising costs.
We’ve all seen over the years consumer packaging in shops getting smaller and lighter – so called light-weighting. This is in part due to these regulations.
The benefit of light-weighting is that you simply handle less packaging, and thus reduce your packaging obligation. Using less packaging around products means a business will be buying less packaging from the start, reducing spend at both ends of the chain – what’s not to like?
Lighter and smaller packaging can in turn lead to logistical benefits, such as more products per shipment or reduced transport costs.
Helping your CSR credentials
All these improvements can then be rolled up within a business’s Corporate Social Reasonability (CSR) reporting. Reduction in packaging is a key sustainability measure for many businesses and one that benefits both the business and the wider environment.
If you are a producer under these regulations, it’s therefore worth looking into how you can reduce packaging to save you money, lower your waste burden, and help the environment – as well as your own reputation.
Our team of specialists have years of experience dealing in this legislation, so if you want to know more about how to make the packaging regulations work for you, simply get in touch for a chat on 0845 094 222 or email our packaging team.
James joined the compliance team in August 2012 and now holds the role of technical manager. He is responsible for managing all regulator requirements across packaging, WEEE and batteries compliance regulations, and for overseeing our WEEE and batteries collections. In particular, James takes an active interest in quality improvement both for clients' data methodologies and internally to improve business efficiency.
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