The Bath-based Great Western Wine Company imports wine and sells it on to the public, restaurants, shops and other wine merchants throughout the UK.

Under the Packaging Waste Regulations all businesses with an annual turnover in excess £2 million and handling more than 50-tonnes of packaging a year are obliged to register with the Environment Agency or a recognised compliance scheme.

This is to encourage businesses to behave responsibly and ensure a percentage of the packaging they handle is recovered and recycled, helping to reduce the amount of material going to landfill.

In January 2009, the wine company was contacted by the Environment Agency after records showed it was not registered with any scheme.

It is estimated the company avoided more than £22,000 in fees and costs for the years 2004 – 2008 by failing to comply with the regulations.

The company has since joined and paid a compliance scheme.

“The defendant company is a successful and well-established business handling relatively large amounts of packaging. It should have been aware of its responsibilities under the Waste Packaging Regulations and taken the necessary steps to ensure compliance,” said Mark Pritchard for the Environment Agency.

The company was fined £29,700 and ordered to pay £1,999 costs by Bath magistrates after pleading guilty to nine offences under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 (2005 and 2007) including failing to register and take reasonable steps to recover and recycle packaging waste and failing to furnish a certificates of compliance in 2004 and 2008.

The company was also ordered to pay £3,856 compensation.

Sam Bond

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