Maurice Lay Distributors in Avonmouth, England, fined £18,000 for breaches of waste packaging regulation that require certain companies to register with Environment Agency or join compliance scheme

ROTHERHAM, England , October 25, 2011 (press release) – A company importing and distributing kitchen units and electrical accessories has been ordered to pay more than £18,000 in fines, costs and compensation for breaching waste packaging regulations.

The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

Maurice Lay Distributors Ltd, of Fourth Way, Avonmouth admitted a total of six offences and asked for another nine to be taken into consideration whey they appeared before Bristol magistrates.

Businesses with an annual turnover of more than £2 million and handling more than 50 tonnes of packaging a year are obliged to recover and recycle a percentage of any packaging they use.

The purpose of the Packaging Regulations is to encourage businesses to take responsibility for any packaging they use, reduce the amount of packaging produced and cut down on the amount of material going to landfill.

Obligated business are not required to physically recover and recycle the packaging themselves. However, they must register with the Environment Agency or join a Compliance Scheme. Proof of compliance is demonstrated through the purchase of documents known as Packaging Recovery Notes from accredited re-processors.

Magistrates heard that Maurice Lay Distributors, who supply retailers all over the UK, were first contacted by the Environment Agency in 2000 when the company confirmed it handled less than 50 tonnes of packaging.

In August 2009 an Environment Agency officer visited the company’s Avonmouth premises in connection with separate environmental legislation when it became apparent the business was obligated under the Packaging Regulations. Despite being advised to urgently join a compliance scheme, the company didn’t do so until the following year.

Information provided by the company showed it had an annual turnover of up to £22.9 million and handled up to 164 tonnes of packaging a year. By failing to register it had saved £5,430.

Maurice Lay Distributors Ltd was fined a total of £11,985 for six offences under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations and Section 95 of the Environment Act 1995, ordered to pay £2,262 costs and £3,864 compensation.

‘Businesses handling large amounts of packaging must behave responsibly and ensure they comply with the Packaging Regulations. This company had been aware of the regulations for over 10 years so there was no excuse for its non-compliance,’ said Mark Pritchard for the Environment Agency.

The case was heard by Bristol magistrates on October 13, 2011.

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