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Wine company fined over waste packaging

A UK wine importation and distribution company has been ordered to pay more than £8,300 in fines and costs for failing to comply with waste packaging regulations. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

De Bortoli Wines UK supply wine to retailers and wholesalers from premises at Farnham near Blandford, Dorset. Wines are imported from a parent company in Australia to a bonded warehouse where it is distributed to customers. The packaging is mainly glass bottles and cardboard boxes.

Any business handling more than 50 tonnes of packaging a year with an annual turnover of more than £2 million is required, under the Packaging Regulations, to recover and recycle a percentage of any packaging waste they’ve produced.

A company must comply with the regulations by either registering with the Environment Agency or signing up to a Compliance Scheme by April 7 each year and providing data on the tonnage of packaging handled.

The aim of the Packaging Regulations is to encourage businesses to take responsibility for packaging used in their operations and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

Businesses are not required to physically recover and recycle the packaging themselves, but pay accredited waste handling organisations to do the recycling on their behalf.

On May 15, 2009 the Environment Agency contacted De Bortoli Wines to ascertain whether the company needed to register. Information supplied by the company showed it was in breach of the regulations for the years 2005, 2006 and 2007. By not registering it had avoided paying costs and fees estimated at £5,022.

“It is important businesses handling packaging register with the agency or join a compliance scheme as this helps with recycling and reduces the amount of waste going to landfills,” said Tessa Bowering for the Environment Agency.

De Bortoli Wines was fined a total of £4,500 by Weymouth magistrates on September 9 after pleading guilty to nine offences under the Producer Responsibility Obligation (Packaging Waste) Regulations including failing to register, failing to recover and recycle packaging waste and failing to furnish a certificate of compliance. The company was also ordered to pay £2,128 costs and compensation of £1,686.




1 September 2010 - Felicity Murray