Hexcel UK pays £30k after failing to comply with packaging waste regulations
13 Mar 2023 --- Hexcel Reinforcements UK has paid £30,000 (US$36,400) after failing to register as a packaging producer and take steps to recover and recycle its packaging waste under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (PRO) Packaging Waste Regulations 2007. The UK’s Environment Agency accepted an enforcement undertaking offer from Hexcel to address the breach of environmental legislation.
Under the Environment Agency, companies with a turnover of over £2 million (US$2.4 million) and handling more than 50 metric tons of packaging in the previous year must ensure a certain percentage of packaging is recycled.
Hexcel breached 40(1)(b) after failing to recover or recycle its packaging waste from 2005 to 2020. The company also admitted to breaching regulation 40(1)(a) after not properly registering from 2005 to 2020. Hexcel is registered in Cambridge but operates in Leicester.
“Enforcement undertakings allow businesses who fail to comply with legal requirements or pollute the environment to come into compliance or positively address and restore any harm caused to the environment and prevent repeat incidents,” says a spokesperson for the Environment Agency.
Hexcel manufactures composite reinforcement that produces lightweight carbon fiber multiaxials, glass fiber and aramid fiber non-crimp fabrics.
The PRO regulations exist to ensure packaging materials such as paper, cardboard, plastics, wood, glass and other materials are recycled and do not end up in landfills.
The £30,000 (US$36,200) has been donated to The Woodland Trust’s Mead Appeal in Derbyshire, which works to transform a former opencast mine into a haven for wildlife and people. The project will boost animal wildlife, such as 40 bird species, badgers, water voles and foxes.
“The Environment Agency is increasingly using this method of enforcement for less serious cases to restore and improve the environment, change behavior and improve practices of the offender,” continues the Environment Agency spokesperson.
Similarly, Revolution Beauty, a UK cosmetics company, also accepted an enforcement undertaking after violating the PRO (Packaging Waste) regulations. The company failed to register and take reasonable steps to recover and recycle packaging waste in 2018.
Revolution Beauty offered to pay £9,160.98 (US$11,060)to the Marine Conservation Society. It will also cover the Environment Agency’s costs regarding its breach. The Environment Agency calls the donation a “reactive offer.”
Going forward, Revolution Beauty has committed to registering with the Valpak compliance scheme and introducing a new packaging waste methodology.
This month, a court ordered REDcycle’s parent company to be wound up. REDcycle was declared insolvent after failing to pay storage fees for the 12,000 metric tons of soft plastics it secretly stockpiled in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
Last month, the South Korean ministry of environment planned to introduce a fine of up to ₩3 million (US$2,300) for companies that mislead the public about their environmental impacts. The new regulation is expected to simplify the process and allow the ministry to take a stronger stance on greenwashing.
The Philippines also recently added a law to its Extended Producers Responsibility Act of 2022 by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which requires businesses to recover their plastic packaging waste.
Companies with a total asset of over ₱100 million (US$1.8 million) must create a system to recover 20% of the plastic waste they produced from the previous year. Those who fail to comply pay a fine from ₱5 million (US$91,644) to ₱20 million (US$363,704).
Edited by Sabine Waldeck
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