Cobra beer hit with £25k recycling fine

The producers of Cobra beer have been ordered to pay over £25,000 for failing to meet a legal requirement to take responsibility for its waste.

Under the Producer Responsibility Obligations Regulations, businesses with a turnover of over £2m that produce over 50 tonnes of packaging are obliged to sign up to an Environment Agency-registered compliance scheme which helps members meet their responsibilities.

The agency alleged that Cobra had failed to meet these responsibilities by failing to recover and recycle over 1,000 tonnes of packaging waste.

The beer company entered a guilty fee before magistrates in Hendon, north London, last week and was fined £25,800.

The case related to failings during the three year period from 2003 to 2005.

The Regulations are designed to ensure companies assess the amount of packaging they use and, where possible, limit their consumption. For the packaging remaining, companies are expected to invest in the recycling industry.

Details of the regulations are available in trade journals, through trade organisations and online but according to the EA many businesses remain unaware of their responsibilities, resulting in packaging waste potentially being landfilled rather than being recycled.

Environment Agency officer Sarah Dover said: “The money raised from compliance with this legislation goes directly to the recycling industry and the failure by this company to ensure they met their responsibilities means that there was less investment in the recycling industry than there should have been.

“There is information available to businesses to ensure they meet they environmental responsibility. It is important companies take this responsibility seriously to stop the tonnes of packaging piling up in the UK’s shrinking landfill sites.”

Cobra beer was set up by Cambridge graduate and chartered accountant Karan Bilimoria in 1989, then 27 and £20,000 in debt.

Sam Bond

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