Food firm to pay £37k for packaging blunder

By John Wood

- Last updated on GMT

Walter Black Foods was ordered to pay £37,000
Walter Black Foods was ordered to pay £37,000

Related tags: Recycling, Waste management, Biodegradable waste

Failure to comply with packaging waste regulations has cost a food manufacturer more than £37,000 after it was prosecuted.

Walter Black Foods of Drumhead Road, Cambuslang Investment Park, Glasgow, was fined £8,600 at Glasgow Sheriff Court this week (March 7) for breaching The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations.

It has also paid £28,538 as a Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to register in accordance with the regulations, failing to take reasonable steps to recover and recycle packaging waste, and failing to provide a certificate to show it complied with its recovery and recycling obligations.

Reported to the Procurator Fiscal

The matter was investigated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

The regulations seek to increase the amount of packaging waste that is recovered and recycled rather than being disposed of as waste to landfill. To comply, companies must register with SEPA or join an approved compliance scheme.

In October 2013, SEPA discovered that Walter Black Foods had been de-registered from the compliance scheme it had been a member of.

If a company’s membership of a scheme is discontinued, an application for registration must be made to the appropriate agency (in this case SEPA) within 28 days. But despite warning letters from SEPA, the company did not do so.

‘Well aware what their responsibilities were’

SEPA’s investigating officer Bernard Gaffney said: “Walter Black Foods has been registered as a producer since 2004, so should have been well aware what their responsibilities were. In addition, when the scheme de-registered them they were sent a letter explaining that they should contact SEPA, but they never did.”

Gaffney explained that producers are responsible for meeting the UK business targets, through funding the recovery/recycling of their share of packaging placed onto the UK market.

If producers don’t register, the amount of packaging which counts towards meeting the UK business targets decreases, but the tonnage of packaging flowing into the UK waste stream is the same.

As a result, registered producers have their share of responsibility inflated and may have to pay for the recycling/recovery of additional tonnages to cover any shortfall left by those who fail to register.


Packaging waste regulations in Scotland

Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations require companies to:

• Register with SEPA or join an approved compliance scheme

• Recover and recycle an amount and types of packaging waste based on the amounts and types of waste handled by them

• Submit information on the packaging handled by them, together with evidence of their recovery and recycling of the packaging waste, to SEPA

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