London restaurant fined for packaging offences

A London restaurant company has been fined more than £24,000 by the Environment Agency for failing to comply packaging waste regulations.

The company, Gioma UK Ltd, pleaded guilty to failing to register with the Environment Agency, and failing to recover and recycle packaging waste in 2007, 2008 and 2009 by purchasing Packaging Recovery Notes as provided by the Regulations.

The company, which runs 14 restaurants, asked the court to take 14 similar matters between 2000 and 2006 into consideration.

Under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations, companies which have an annual turnover in excess of £2 million and handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging per annum, must register with the Environment Agency or a compliance scheme.

Each year, the company must also provide evidence of payment for recovery and recycling of a specified proportion of its packaging. The types of packaging covered by this legislation are wood, aluminium, steel, cardboard and plastic.

The regulations are designed to make companies assess the amount of packaging they handle and, where possible, limit its use. The money raised from this legislation is directly invested in the recycling industry.

Many organisations remain unaware of their responsibilities despite details being available in trade journals, through trade organisations and online.

Environment Agency investigating officer, Daniela Gatto-Ronchieri said: “The Producer Responsibility Regulations are in place to encourage a reduction in the amount of packaging used by businesses and to decrease the disposal of packaging waste to landfill.

“Although these regulations have been in place for over a decade, many businesses still remain unaware of their responsibilities. The money that Gioma (UK) Ltd has saved by not purchasing Packaging Recovery Notes would have directly supported the recycling industry.”

The company subsequently joined the compliance scheme in 2010.

Alison Brown

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