EA’s Compliance Monitoring

At the beginning of October the Environment Agency (EA) published their ‘Compliance monitoring and enforcement activity 2018’ report. With positive notes on the UK’s recycling rates which exceeded the EU directive targets. For instance in 2018 the packaging recovery rate was 70.71% (EU target 60%), of which 64.27% (EU Target 55%) was reported as being recycled.

Monitoring & Inspections

It stated that a total of 136 site inspections were undertaken during 2018 – 17% above the published minimum target of 116. Those monitored included packaging producers, compliance schemes, accredited reprocessor and accredited exporters.

In addition to this the report confirmed that at registration stage they monitored the information and data submitted from all registered producers (around 7,000). This included comparing data submissions to previous years, seeking explanations and corrections where necessary.

The report highlighted that following their monitoring at registration stage, they audited a direct registrant that had significantly over obligated themselves – an error causing a 99.8% increase in packaging – approximately £3m in terms of cost to purchase the evidence required to comply. This indicates the value of being a member of a Wastepack Group compliance scheme; all data submitted to us undergoes robust variance checks to validate your data before obligation is calculated, and submissions are made to the Environment Agencies. Plus we’re always on hand to offer expert advice at any stage of the submission process, and you can always contact a member of our team to book a free health check.

Free Riders and ‘Drop-offs’

Obligated Producers that are not registered are defined as Free Riders, in their report the EA stated that it is “not possible to determine the actual number of free riders”. They went on to explain that there is no readily available information which identifies those producers that have responsibilities under the packaging regulations. However, in 2018, the agency did contact 54 producers finding 5 were already registered, 8 were in the process of registering and 10 were in fact not obligated. No information was given for the other 31 businesses contacted.

The EA also highlighted the number of businesses that failed to re-register without explanation (drop-offs), confirming their investigation process including how they target those businesses to bring them back into compliance and/or confirm if they were no longer a packaging producer.

Throughout 2018 over £420,000 was raised in financial contributions to environmental charities following enforcement undertakings (EUs) from packaging producers. Since EUs were introduced in 2011 over £5m has been raised in financial contributions to environmental charities.


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