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Failure to comply with Packaging Regulations

costs Warwickshire company over £32,000

Yesterday (13 November), Marla Tube Fittings Limited of Kinwarton pleaded guilty at Warwickshire Magistrates' Court to 21 charges of non-compliance with packaging regulations.

The charges were brought by the Environment Agency under the Producer Responsibility Obligation (Packaging Waste) Regulations. Marla Tube Fittings was fined £21,000. In addition to this the company was ordered to pay costs of £1,991.48, a compensation order to the Agency for £9,122, and a £15 victim surcharge, equalling a cost of £32,128.48.

For the Environment Agency, Jill Crawford told the court that Marla Tube Fittings is a manufacturer, processor and factoring company of tube fittings.

The Regulations require obligated companies to observe specific rules relating to the recovery and recycling of packaging. On the 19 October, the Environment Agency sent a letter to Marla Tube Fittings asking for details relating to their turnover and the quantity of packaging handled. After checking the National Waste Registrations Database for registration, in which no record was found for Marla Tube Fittings, a spokesperson for the company was asked to attend an interview.

Mr Barnes, Finance Director of Marla Tube Fittings, attended a formal interview at the Environment Agency office in Warwick on the 3 April 2008. During the interview he admitted that Marla Tube Fittings were not registered from 1997 to 2007 inclusive and did not meet their recovery and recycling obligations. Mr Barnes accepted that the company should have been registered under the regulations in each of the years when the company handled over 50 tonnes of packaging and had a turnover of over £2m.

Speaking after the case Hannah Wooldridge, an Environment Agency Officer involved in the investigation said: “This case highlights the need for all companies to keep abreast of environmental regulation. The company were unaware of the regulations and their implications. Any company with a turnover of over £2 million pounds and handling over 50 tonnes of packaging per annum may be obligated and should seek advice to ensure compliance with the Regulations. Importers of goods in any type of packaging should be aware of the Regulations as they may need to take action. Companies should also be aware that by recycling their own waste, they still need to be registered with an appropriate agency or compliance scheme.”

Hannah continued: “We do provide guidance on the requirements of the Regulations and how to stay on the right side of the law on our website. Many companies should be aware of the Regulations as part of environmental management schemes and due diligence reporting. We have a very active team seeking out companies who should be registered under the Regulations and may take action against companies who are non-compliant.”

In mitigation the court heard that Marla Tube fittings put forward an early guilty plea, and that the company were not aware of the regulations until contacted in October 2007. The company had also co-operated with the Environment Agency and were now fully compliant.

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