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Consumer Information About Packaging Recycling

DCS Group (UK) LTD is affected by the Producer Responsibility Obligations Regulations for Packaging and is complying with the legal requirements.

The Regulations brought “Consumer Information Obligations” into force requiring us to inform our customers about packaging recycling.

This leaflet is an introduction to packaging recycling.  It gives you some information about what you can do to help and where you can go for more information.

What are the Packaging Regulations?

The Producer Responsibility Obligations Regulations for Packaging became law in 1997 and implement the targets that Europe has set for all member states to achieve in recycling packaging waste.

The United Kingdom agreed to recycle 60% of all packaging waste.  In 2016 71% of all UK packaging waste was recycled or recovered.

The Government has established business packaging waste targets until 2020.

To comply with these Regulations, businesses that handle packaging must

  • Record the amount of packaging handled by them each year
  • Meet the standards of accuracy laid down in the Regulations
  • Register with the appropriate Environment Agency
  • Acquire evidence of packaging waste recycling and energy recovery.

The UK packaging and packaged goods industry contributes around £60 million per year to support recycling.

What is the problem with waste?

The Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs estimates that each household produces about 1 tonne of waste each year.  This amounts to 28 million tonnes of waste produced in the UK each year.

The amount of waste we throw away increases each year and a quarter of that waste is packaging.

The big problem with throwing away this much waste is the effect of waste disposal on the environment.  Modern landfill sites are constructed to a high standard, but the decomposition of waste still produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that can also cause explosions in landfill sites or adjacent properties.

What can be done by Individuals?

There are recycling facilities throughout the UK for householders to take recyclable products from their own domestic waste stream.

Individuals can also exercise their buying power to buy goods with less packaging.  Suppliers would not provide over packaged goods if nobody bought them.

The leaching of synthetic chemicals, heavy metals and bacteria into the surrounding land and the water table can also have serious and long-term effects

Why should I recycle?

The best solution is to reuse products and to reduce the amount of waste being produced.  Waste Minimisation is particularly important for industry where there can be significant economic savings as well as the environmental benefits.

Sending waste for recycling avoids the payment of Landfill Tax.  Clean, separated recyclable materials are a valuable commodity for the recycling industry.  The advantage of recycling is that the production of goods from recycled materials generally uses less energy and creates less pollution than manufacturing from virgin raw materials.

Over half the contents of the average domestic dustbin can be recycled.  Recycling is a particularly good option for packaging waste, as virtually all forms of packaging can be recycled or incinerated.

Despite the potential to recycle or compost 70% of our waste, the 2016 recycling rate for the UK was only about 45% with the rest being incinerated or buried in landfill sites.

What is being done by Government?

The United Kingdom is rapidly running out of landfill space.  Landfill sites in the Southeast are likely to be exhausted first, unless waste production is dramatically reduced.

The Government has issued waste strategies for England, Scotland and Wales.  These strategies include targets for recycling that must be met by local authorities.  These targets require local councils and other organisations to ensure that more packaging from our dustbins is recovered for recycling.

In response to the Packaging Directive, EC Governments are increasing the recycling targets imposed on businesses that handle packaging throughout Europe.

What can be done by Businesses?

Businesses are being encouraged to improve the management of their waste through such measures as the Landfill Tax and the Packaging Regulations, as well as through the implementation of Management Systems such as ISO14001.

However, the opportunities to save money by examining their waste streams are reason enough for many businesses to embark on waste minimisation and recycling projects.

Where can I go for more information?

Local Authorities provide information on recycling facilities and doorstep collections in your local area.

The Environment Agency provides recycling and waste minimisation information for businesses and can be found at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/environment-agency.

Another useful website for recycling facilities is www.recycle-more.co.uk.

The Government’s environmental priorities are published on the DEFRA website, at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-environment-food-rural-affairs.

Click here for the downloadable Incpen Packaging & Waste information leaflet.