Birmingham-based company’s recycling failure leads to charity donation

  • £12,900 paid to Wildlife Trust for failure to meet packaging recycling obligations
  • Environment Agency estimates company handled nearly 400 tonnes of packaging
  • Enforcement Undertaking used to address breach of environmental legislation

The Environment Agency has accepted an Enforcement Undertaking (EU) from a Birmingham-based company Nobisco Ltd for breaking packaging regulations.

Nobisco is now working within the rules and has made a payment £12,900 to the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and The Black Country for its past failure to meet its packaging recycling obligations.

The payment is part of an EU offered by the company for its failure to register with the Environment Agency and take steps to recover and recycle its packaging waste under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007. They failed to comply with the regulations for 12 years – from 2006 to 2017.

Nobisco is a supplier and distributor of catering, hygiene, janitorial, packaging and PPE/Safety products. The company was unaware that they had obligations under the regulations.

Amy Currie, a Regulatory Officer for the Environment Agency, said:

Nobisco Ltd has acknowledged that by failing to comply with the regulations for 12 years they have avoided paying Environment Agency costs and have also not obtained evidence of recycling and recovery. Enforcement Undertakings enable packaging waste producers to come into compliance and contribute towards environmental projects and improvements using the money they have saved.

The Environment Agency is increasingly using this method of enforcement for cases to restore or enhance the environment, improve practices of the offending business and ensure future compliance with environmental requirements. However, we will continue to pursue prosecution for the most serious cases.

Please report any environmental issues to the Environment Agency’s 24 hour incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.
The company has also covered the Environment Agency’s costs of £2,282.38.


What is an Enforcement Undertaking?

An Enforcement Undertaking is available to the Environment Agency as an alternative sanction to prosecution or monetary penalty for dealing with certain environmental offences. It is a legally-binding voluntary agreement proposed by a business (or an individual) when the Environment Agency has reasonable grounds to suspect that an environmental offence has occurred. Enforcement Undertakings for environmental offences were introduced under the Environmental Civil Sanctions (England) Order 2010 and the Environmental Civil Sanctions (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2010.

Accepting an Enforcement Undertaking is always at the discretion of the Environment Agency but if accepted enables firms and individuals who have damaged the environment or operated outside of legislative requirements to offer to complete actions which will address the cause and effect of their offending, including making a payment to an appropriate environmental project.

EUs can be offered for offences including polluting rivers, breaching permit conditions designed to protect communities, or failing to register and comply with recycling/recovery obligations. The Environment Agency then carefully considers whether the actions offered by the offender are acceptable.

Why use Enforcement Undertakings?

  • businesses will voluntarily secure compliance now and in the future, without attracting a criminal record
  • the environment, local community and those directly impacted by the offending can benefit through actions being offered in an EU
  • they allow the EA to deal with the less intentional and polluting offending in a more proportionate way than prosecution through the criminal courts

The regulation/s the company did not meet:
Between 2006-2017: Regulation 40 (1) a failure to register under the Producer of Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007.
Between 2006-2017: Regulation 40 (1) b failure to recover/recycle the Producer of Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007.

The aim of the Packaging Regulations is to achieve a more sustainable approach to dealing with packaging materials by ensuring that businesses take responsibility for packaging used in their operations. This in turn reduces the amount of packaging materials produced and the materials going to landfill. Failure to comply with these regulations undermines this purpose and effects the ability of the UK to meet the EU Directive on Packaging Waste targets.

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