What is packaging compliance?

The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) regulations were introduced in 1997 and implemented the EC Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste 94/62/EC. The aim of these regulations is to make companies responsible for the packaging waste they are producing or handling and to encourage reduction, reuse and recycling. These regulations have been implemented by the Government introducing recycling targets for companies that handle packaging. Obligated companies are required to register with a compliance scheme such as Smart Comply, or
directly with the appropriate environment agency.

Through your Smart Comply membership, you would pay the relevant fees, report the amount of packaging handle to the relevant Regulator, purchase the evidence required to fulfil your obligation each year and ensure your compliance is successfully completed each year. When you join Smart
Comply, we take on your legal obligation under these obligations.

Please note, that the current Producer Responsibility regulations are being replaced with Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). EPR represents a variety of legislation that seeks to increase the quality of recyclable materials and create a more sustainable, circular economy. With this comes a
reform of the current Packaging Waste Regulations.
EPR represents a variety of legislation that seeks to increase the quality of recyclable materials and create a more sustainable, circular economy.

Until EPR is fully enforced in 2025, the two sets of legislation, The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) regulations & EPR, will run alongside each other.

What is WEEE compliance?

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 came into force across the UK in January 2007. The WEEE Regulations affect companies that manufacture, import, distribute or rebrand electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) in the UK. The aim of these regulations is to make
companies responsible for EEE at its end-of-life and the disposal of the EEE waste they have placed on to the UK market. The aim is to divert electrical and electronic waste away from landfill and incineration and encourage collection, reuse and recycling.
Companies are classified as producers, manufacturers and distributors or retailers and the products are split into business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B).

Why is compliance important and what does my business benefit from being compliant via Smart Comply?

Complying to these Regulations is vital for any obligated UK business who wants to be environmentally accountable and demonstrate to its stakeholders that they are a reliable and ethical.
In today’s society, it is important now, more than ever, that we all play our part in creating a sustainable and circular economy.
These Regulations are designed to do just that and with our help, Smart Comply can ensure that your business fulfils is obligations in a cost effective and reliable way.

You will benefit from our regulatory expertise, know-how market intel and data skillsets, freeing up your valuable time to allow you to focus on your business outputs. We can also help you with budgeting as well as improving your data set, so it is as accurate as reasonably possible.

Who needs to comply with these Regulations?

If you are a UK business who has an annual turnover of more than £2 million and handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging a year – you are obligated under The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) regulations. The obligation is split between the supply chain via Manufactures, Converters, Pack fillers and Sellers, each taking on a percentage of obligation which in turn, equates
to 100% overall.

Under the impending Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), the responsibility shifts to a single point of compliance rather than being split through the supply chain as in The Producer Responsibility Obligations. This is to put accountability and financial burden of the packaging placed on to the UK market, through to the end of its life (being collected, processed and/or recycled) on those that are ultimately responsible for the packaging in the first place.

There is a threshold to determine obligated businesses under EPR which is based on placed on the market tonnages and business turnover.

Please refer to our EPR compliance table Here

How can I ensure my packaging reporting is compliant?

Let us take this burden off your shoulders. We request the packaging data from yourselves, scrutinize it, apply our own calculations where necessary, populate your obligation, sense check the final figures with you before making a submission to the regulator. The packaging data reported must be as accurate as reasonably possible and we will be able to assist you in making sure your data is up to scratch.

What is a Compliance Scheme?

A producer compliance scheme, sometimes referred to PCS/PSC’s, take on a Producers legal obligation under the Regulations. Compliance schemes are responsible for registering their members by the required deadlines, ensuring compliance for each relevant period, purchasing the required evidence known as Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) to fulfil your obligation and hold the legal responsibility for successful compliance.

What is a Packaging Recovery Note (PRN)?

A Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) is an evidence note that demonstrates that packaging waste has been recycled. One PRN can be raised for 1 tonne of recycled or recovered material. These can only be issued by accredited reprocessors and accredited exporters of packaging waste.

Through the purchase of PRNs, obligated companies are taking responsibility for a percentage of the packaging waste that they have placed into the UK waste stream. The income generated from the sale of PRNs is monitored by the Environmental Agencies and is used for investment into recycling infrastructure, and compliance ensuring that recycling and recovery can continue to grow.

Smart Comply are responsible for purchasing all PRNs on behalf of their members in order for the members to fulfil their obligations.
The cost of the PRN is market driven, and can rise or fall depending upon the availability of the recycled material. Smart Comply has long standing relationships with key reprocessors and exporters and can always offer great value PRNs.

Our expert team of PRN buyers have an extensive and reliable network of relationships with UK waste reprocessors and exporters. We pride ourselves on our market intel and relationships. This enables us to purchase PRNs for our members at competitive prices meaning you benefit from cost savings wherever possible. We vet our suppliers to ensure that we only buy from those with approved accreditations.

What Are the Reporting Requirements for Compliance?

Under The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) regulations, the packaging you handled must be accounted for and calculated based on what you handled in the previous calendar year. You must register by April 7 th if you’re registered directly with the Regulator or by April 15 th if you are a member of a producer compliance scheme.

With EPR, the packaging handled is reported biannually covers the periods of; January 1 st – June 30 th (half 1 data) and July 1 st December 31 st (half 2 data).

Your scheme will request your packaging data from you in good time prior to the registration deadlines to ensure they can scrutinize, and sense check the accuracy of the data being reported before populating your calculated obligation. It is vital that you work with your scheme account manager to assure reporting is as accurate as reasonably possible.

What Happens if I Don't Comply? (Legality and penalties)

Failure to comply with The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) regulations, results in civil penalties such as Enforcement Undertakings (EU’s) and even prosecution, enforced by the Environment Agency (EA). An EU allows the offending company to restore and remediate any environmental damage they have caused. There is also the potential for reputational damage to your business as the EA publish details on completed civil penalties.

Under EPR, Regulators will have a wider variety of sanctions to penalise those who are not complying under the Environment Act which includes but are not limited to variable financial penalties, fixed monetary penalties, compliance notices and EU’s.

How Can I Stay Informed About Regulatory Changes?

Through us! One of our many duties on behalf of our members is to keep on top of regulatory updates and changes. We digest the changes, asses what it means for both our members and the industry as a whole and notify you as soon as possible as you’re fully aware and up to date. Allowing you to prepare your business for any regulatory changes and financial budgets in good time.

How Can I Calculate My Packaging Waste?

As your packaging compliance scheme, Smart Comply will help you to identify what activities you carry out and calculate your obligation for you. We will be with you every step of way.
From advising you on the most convenient way your business can provide the data we require, sense checking weights and quantities, helping you to make any improvements that could aid your business through to making the final calculations for you – we’re your one stop shop for packaging compliance, which includes calculating your packaging waste. Additional benefits such as test weighing projects can also be completed for you.