Legal basis

Legal Basis


The aim of the regulations is to increase the level of recovery and recycling in the UK; tough targets have been set EU-wide to ensure that this happens to acceptable standards. The packaging waste regulations affect thousands of businesses in the UK, regardless of industry or the sector within  the packaging chain. The criteria state that any organisation handling over 50 tonnes of packaging material with a turnover in excess of £2 million is required to comply with the packaging waste regulations.

Initially, it must be established whether or not the organisation is performing an activity. ‘Shared producer responsibility’ ensures that all producers within any packaging supply chain contribute to driving the expansion of recycling infrastructure.

There are 5 activities a company can perform:

1. Manufacture of raw packaging material

(steel sheet, for example)

2. Converting raw material into packaging

(conversion of steel sheet into a can)

3. Putting goods into packaging

(fill baked beans into cans)

4. Importing packaging from outside the UK

(import baked beans in bulk packaging)

5. Selling on packaging to the end user who discards it

(selling transit packaging around baked bean cans to a supermarket who discards it and selling baked bean cans to the consumer who discards it)

What must affected organisations do?

  • ·        Annually register directly with one of the agencies, or via a compliance scheme, such as Valpak

  • Submit details of the weight of packaging handled in the previous calendar year.·        
  •  Pay fees to their compliance scheme or, if they are directly registered, obtain compliance evidence (PRNs, PERNs or alternative evidence) to show that their share of recovery and recycling has taken place

    A PRN is accepted evidence that demonstrates a certain tonnage of material specific packaging has been recovered and recycled. PRNs can only be issued by reprocessors accredited by the Environmental Agencies. Many organisations commonly assume that they must arrange for the actual packaging they handle to be recovered or recycled. In fact, the legislation only requires proof of recovery or recycling of any packaging equivalent to their obligation.