The new Packaging Regulations are coming into force at the start of October. Is your business ready? The new rules will affect all businesses that bring packaged products to market, from initial packaging through to the elements used when putting products through packaging wrappers. The regulations are aimed at minimizing the amount of packaging that is used. However, with many businesses unaware that the regulations even exist and very little enforcement currently taking place, what impact will the changes really have?
The Problem of Waste
In this country, we generate an extremely large volume of waste every year. Just in England, this amounts to 177 million tonnes each year, and a vast quantity of this is sent to landfill. This increases the cost of dealing with waste and leads to environmental issues. If we want to work towards becoming a ‘zero-waste economy’, we need to dramatically reduce the amount of rubbish that we generate. It is not possible to completely remove waste from our lives, but the new regulations should help us to value our waste more by reducing levels, reusing and recycling what we can and then only throwing away items if we really have to.
The New Regulations
From 1st October 2015, the changes that have been made to the Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations will come into force. However, many in the industry may be unaware that these regulations were originally implemented on 1st January 1999 to follow an EU Directive. Since that time, there have been very few prosecutions for businesses that have failed to comply. UK enforcement agencies have not adopted a strict enforcement strategy against those who don’t comply.
With the regulations now updated, it is generally the role of the brand owners or importers to comply with the regulations. It’s imperative that they feel they have a moral duty to reduce the elements of waste within their product, as it is unlikely that we will see any further enforcement of the regulations.
The new Packaging Regulations are an important step towards achieving a ‘zero-waste economy’. However, it will take a concerted approach and more enforcement for the regulations to have a real impact on waste levels.