Financial Hangover For Young's Brewery

Company blames administrative "oversight"

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Wandsworth based Young's brewery was in court on last week and was ordered to pay £30,751 today after failing to comply with the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007.

Young & Co Brewery Plc which has over 200 pubs, pleaded guilty at South Western Magistrates Court in Battersea to failing to register with the Environment Agency, failing to meet its requirements to recover and recycle packaging waste and failing to furnish a certificate of compliance in 2007 and 2008.

It was estimated that the company had avoided costs of £20,811.923 by not registering and purchasing the correct amount of Packaging Recovery Notes. The company was fined £27,000 (six offences), ordered to pay the Agency compensation of £1,552 in respect of unpaid registration fees and £2,199 in costs to the Agency.

Under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations, companies who have an annual turnover in excess of £2 million and handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging per annum must register with the Environment Agency or a compliance scheme.  Each year, the company must also provide evidence of payment for recovery and recycling of a specified proportion of their packaging.  The types of packaging covered by this legislation are wood, aluminium, steel, cardboard and plastic.

The regulations are designed to make companies assess the amount of packaging they handle and, where possible, limit its use.  The money raised from this legislation is directly invested in the recycling industry.  Many organisations remain unaware of their responsibilities despite details being available in trade journals, through trade organisations and online.   

The Environment Agency found out that the company was not registered with a compliance scheme in January 2009. The company contacted the Environment Agency’s waste industry regulation services team as they had realised that they had not registered as a producer under the Regulations since the 2006 registration year due to an oversight and wanted to make late registrations. The company was advised that they should register for the 2009 year but that it was too late to register for the years 2007 and 2008.

Elaine Cory, investigating officer for the Environment Agency said:
“Although Young's had previously registered and complied with the regulations, this case serves as a reminder to companies obligated under the packaging regulations to ensure that they remain compliant with the regulations. The money the company has saved by not registering and purchasing Packaging Recovery Notes would have directly supported the recycling industry.”

A spokesmen for Young's said:
" Young’s takes its environmental responsibilities extremely seriously and is therefore disappointed to have found that some of its administrative procedures relating to recording its recycling packaging waste were not as thorough as they should have been.

Upon realising that we were not wholly compliant with the 2007 Packaging Waste Regulations, the Company immediately sought to bring this matter to the attention of the Environmental Agency and co-operated fully with them in their investigations.

We accept the ruling, regret the genuine oversight that resulted in us failing to register with the Environmental Agency and have renewed our membership of a registered compliance scheme to ensure these administrative errors don’t happen again.

The Producer Responsibility (Packaging Waste) Regulations are designed to make companies assess the amount of packaging they use and, where possible, limit the amount used. For the packaging remaining, companies have a responsibility to invest in the recycling industry.

The amount of recovery and recycling is dependent on the type of activity the company performs on the packaging and the tonnage handled. As the majority of companies are unable to take back their packaging, a system was set up whereby they purchase Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) or Packaging Export Recovery Notes (PERNs) to the value of their obligation. The money from these PRNs/PERNs is used by the reprocessors of the packaging to improve the efficiency of their process, to expand their facilities, and assist with the funding of domestic recycling schemes, etc

March 31, 2010