Distributors and retailers fined for packaging failures

A Guildford-based wine distributor has been ordered to pay £33,626 for packaging offences.

Les Caves de Pyrene pleaded guilty at Guildford magistrates court on 22 January to 16 charges under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 and section 95 of the Environment Act 1995.

The firm was charged with failing to register, recycle and produce evidence of recycling between 2000 and 2007.

The regulations require companies turning over more than £2 million and handling more than 50 tonnes of packaging a year to register with the Environment Agency or a compliance scheme. Companies must also provide evidence of payment for recovery and recycling of a proportion of their packaging.

By failing to do either, Les Caves de Pyrene saved an estimated £26,800. It was fined £24,000 and made to compensate the Agency for £6,680. It was also ordered to pay the Agency’s costs of £2,931 and the government’s surcharge of £15.

Agency investigating officer Laura Dowsett said: "It is disappointing that… there are still a significant number of companies that are not compliant with the regulations. Businesses that are not registered have less incentive to reduce and recycle the packaging they handle, they increase the amount of waste that goes to landfill and they are not investing in the UK recycling industry".

Another wine distributor, Telford-based Western Wines Ltd, holds the record for a packaging fine. It was ordered to pay £225,000 in January 2008 (ENDS Report 397, p 60 ).

  • First Choice Coffee has been fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,600 after admitting to packaging failures spanning two years.

    The coffee retailer pleaded guilty to six offences before Milton Keynes magistrates on 9 January. In 2006 and 2007, the company failed to register or recover and recycle packaging waste and did not produce a compliance certificate, contrary to the packaging regulations and the 1995 Act.

    The company claimed to be unaware of the regulations and asked for three further years of non-compliance to be considered in sentencing. It was estimated to have saved at least £5,970 by failing to register over the five years.

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