Hammer & Tongs is obligated under the Producer Responsibility Obligations Regulations for Packaging. The Regulations require registered retailers to provide information to their customers on the environmental impact and recycling of packaging.
The following information should help you to understand why packaging recycling benefits the environment and what you can do to recycle your waste packaging.
The Packaging Waste Regulations were introduced into the UK in 1997. They require companies with a turnover greater than £2m/year and that place more than 50 tonnes of packaging onto the UK market a year to take responsibility for the recycling of a proportion of packaging that relates to the amount they place onto the market.
This is calculated by applying targets set by government to data that all obligated companies have to supply to the environmental Agencies.
Hammer & Tongs is an obligated company and is registered with the Environment Agency. We have submitted data and at the end of the year, have to demonstrate that we have paid for the cost of recycling a certain amount of packaging that relates to those targets.
Overall, the UK is required, under the EU Packaging Waste Directive, to recycle at least 55% and to recover at least 60% of packaging waste by the end of 2008. This was achieved.
More information about the Packaging Waste Regulations can be found here.
Packaging is an essential part of the supply process and ensures that products are delivered safely, undamaged and with an optimum life.
Companies spend millions of pounds developing new ways of packaging to enhance product life and to reduce the amount of packaging used.
Although packaging often causes strong emotions with accusations of over packaging often leveled at supermarkets, for instance, packaging is generally designed with a number of issues to balance which often means a product may look over packaged.
For instance, all products have to have information supplied on the packaging which often means it needs more space that might be otherwise considered necessary.
Security is often a problem with small high value products which means that companies have to place the products in large packaging to prevent their theft.
Unpackaged fruit and vegetables often leads to large wastage from unused or damaged items.
More information on the benefits of packaging can be found on Incpen.
The UK uses around 10.5m tones of packaging a year. If this is landfilled, it both loses useful resources and creates potential environmental problems for the future.
The UK Regulations have been put in place to enable the UK to meet the European Directive targets. However, the government also has a waste strategy in place to reduce the environmental impact of waste by prioritizing its disposal through:
If packaging is disposed of to landfill, it eventually decomposes, producing gas and filling up valuable space that is needed for wastes that have no alternative but landfill.
It also loses the potential to replace virgin raw materials and therefore to avoid depleting the planet of valuable resources.
As a disposal option, therefore, recycling is considered the best way of creating the maximum environmental benefit for waste packaging.
There are many options for recycling your packaging waste although these do vary depending on where you may live.
Most councils now collect some form of packaging and you are encouraged to participate where possible. Facilities are available at all Civic Amenity waste sites operated by councils and more information on what sites offer what recycling facilities can be found here. This offers a postcode finder for the nearest facilities.
Many supermarkets also now offer to take back carrier bags and also have bottle, paper, plastic bottle and can banks in their car parks. These should also be shown on the recycle more website.
The Packaging Waste Regulations are controlled by Defra. They are advised by an Advisory Committee on Packaging.
Local Authorities provide information on recycling facilities and doorstep collections. Your local authority should also have more information on what recycling it does and what materials can be recycled within its boundaries. https://www.gov.uk/recycling-collections will point to your local authority website and facilities.
You can keep up to date with developments in the world of recycling on www.letsrecycle.com.
You can also find out all about the Packaging Waste Regulations and other similar areas of government legislation on www.360environmental.co.uk.