The Calendar Club, a chain of calendar shops, and its sister company Otter House, a calendar and gift publisher, both based in Exeter were caught by an Environment Agency investigation.

The agency prosecuted both firms under rules which mean any company with a turnover of more than £2m and handling more than 50 tonnes of packaging a year have to register with them or with an approved compliance scheme to recycle waste.

The aim of the regulations, according to the agency, is to encourage businesses to recycle and reduce the amount of waste packaging going to landfill, by placing the financial burden on packaging producers to discourages over-packaging.

The Calendar Club confirmed in 2005 and 2006 it had a turnover of £16m and £18m respectively and handled in excess of 50 tonnes of packaging including plastic, paper and card, Otter House also confirmed in 2006 and 2007 it had a turnover of £8m and £9m.

After being approached by the agency, the two companies took steps to ensure they were registered for 2008.

However, as they had not in 2006 and 2007 Otter House and Calendar Club had avoided costs of £929 and £891 and £1,094 and £956 respectively.

Appearing before Exeter magistrates on June 16, Calendar Club was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £856.73 costs plus £1,544 compensation after pleading guilty to six offences, Otter House was fined £3,000 after pleading guilty to six similar offences.

Luke Walsh

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