Defra announces packaging proposals

Small producers could be exempt from the packaging regulations under proposed amendments announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The changes to the packaging system form part of the government’s ongoing ‘Red Tape Challenge’, which seeks to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses. Announced at the open conference of the Advisory Committee on Packaging on Tuesday, 15 April 2014, the proposals could see small-scale businesses taken out of the packaging regime.

The current packaging waste regulations

The present system sets a threshold for those businesses with a turnover of £2 million and handling 50 tonnes of packaging per year. Those businesses that meet this threshold are required to meet annual recycling targets related to the packaging type and weight for which they are responsible and must do this by registering, either direct with the appropriate agency, or by joining a producer compliance scheme. In 2013, just over 6,900 businesses were obligated.

To ease the burden for small businesses in the UK, Defra has proposed to raise the threshold, which would mean that small producers with a turnover of less than £5 million could be exempt altogether from the packaging regulations. The changes could, reportedly, result in 1 in 9 producers being exempt.

Clarity’s Managing Director, David Adams, said that the company welcomes changes that will support smaller businesses: “We understand that for some smaller businesses, meeting environmental regulations can be both a financial and administrative burden and we wholeheartedly support any changes that will help to reduce the burden for them.”

David Adams adds that Clarity hopes that Defra takes notice of the issues experienced during the WEEE regulation changes when implementing any proposals: “Whilst the changes could benefit some smaller producers, these changes could have a knock-on effect on the larger producers and they will need to plan ahead for this. We hope that lessons have been learnt from the changes to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations, which at times caused confusion and uncertainty to producers and compliance schemes alike. We hope to see open and clear communication throughout the development of these proposals."

Read our full article in this month's clearview newsletter.

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