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Warning over packaging fines

Published:  23 July, 2008

The chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has reiterated that wine companies are not complying with the Packaging Waste Regulations and are therefore opening themselves up to the possibility of prosecution, fines and backdated payments.

Jeremy Beadles outlined the problem in a news special in Harpers (19 May). He started: Like a bad penny, the Packaging Waste Regulations keep turning up in my career.' He went on to say that the Environment Agency was targeting the wine trade and proceedings had been launched against a couple of companies.

The regulations came into force in 1997 and apply to all businesses with an annual turnover of more than 2 million that handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging a year. Handling includes putting product into packaging, making packaging, importing packaged goods into the UK (cases of wine) and selling packaged goods to the final user. It also includes packaging owned by the business and imported into the UK by the business or by an agent.

Beadles told Harpers: A lot of members and non-members have contacted me for more information following my feature. A significant number of wine companies are not complying with the regulations. It is a criminal offence not to comply. Not only can they be fined, but they can be made to pay back payments going back nine years to when the act first came into force.

Judging by the names being prosecuted, it seems as though the Environment Agency has the Harpers Directory and is going through it from A to Z.'

Briefing notes on the Packaging Waste Regulations can be found on the WSTA website,, under policy & campaigns'.