Merisant UK Ltd, which sells low-calorie sweeteners imported to the UK from its manufacturing bases throughout Europe, was found guilty of failing to register with the Environment Agency as a producer of packaging, and to meet its requirements to recover and recycle packaging waste for the six year period 2001 to 2006.
Under the regulations, all companies are responsible for the packaging they import as well as the transit packaging around the products sold on to retailers and wholesales.
The nature of the Merisant business meant that it handled a range of different packaging formats such as glass, jars, plastic containers, shrink wrap, cardboard and wooden pallets.
The court has fined Merisant UK a total of £54,000 for failing to comply with the regulations. In addition, the court awarded a further £5,154 to the Environment Agency in compensation for unpaid registration fees as well as costs of £3,094 bringing the total of the penalty to £62,248.
All businesses with an annual turnover in excess of £2m that handle more than 50 tons of packaging each year in the UK must be registered with the Environment Agency or recognised compliance scheme.
Each year, obligated businesses must also provide evidence of payment for the recovery and recycling of a specified proportion of packaging waste.
“The money raised from compliance with this legislation goes directly to the recycling industry and the failure by Merisant to ensure it met its responsibilities means that there was less investment in the recycling industry than there should have been,” said Karen Roberts, environment officer.
The Producer Responsibility (Packaging Waste) Regulations were originally implemented in 1997 as a result of the EU Packaging Directive.
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