Circular Economy

UK Packaging Waste Producer Obligations

The Waste Packaging Regulations are designed to reduce the amount of packaging that businesses introduce into the UK waste stream or consign to landfill and encourage reuse and recycling. Packaging regulations are built on the principal that the polluter pays. 

"Packaging is any material used to hold, protect, handle, deliver and present goods. This covers the whole packaging supply chain from the raw material to the finished goods."   (GOV.UK)
A producer is deemed to be a company or group that performs any of six specific activities on packaging or has those activities carried out on their behalf, and breaches government thresholds.

Reduce, reuse, recycle - better for the environment and for profitability

In the first instance producers should aim to reduce packaging use. This of course benefits both the environment and the bottom line. A waste packing audit is a good place to start. At Scotpak we don't want to simply help you meet your obligations, we want to help you reduce them.

Activity, material and thresholds

An obligated packaging producer is one that meets both the following criteria in the previous year;

  • Generated a turnover in excess of £2 million

  • Handled (performed activity on) 50 tonnes of packaging material

Activity performed on packaging

Waste Packaging Activity
  • Manufacture

  • Convert

  • Pack / fill

  • Sell

  • Import

  • Export

Material used in packaging

Packaging Materials
  • Paper

  • Wood

  • Plastic

  • Glass

  • Aluminium

  • Steel


Threshold & Registration

  • A business becomes obligated when it reaches the thresholds in the previous calendar year.
  • Obligated producers are legally required to register as a packaging producer.
  • Businesses can register by joining a compliance scheme such as Scotpak or register directly.
  • Registration through Scotpak is with Sottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Data Management

  • Businesses must declare all primary and secondary packaging activities.
  • Packaging material handling must be calculated and declared by tonnage.
  • Data submitted by Scotpak is held on the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD).

Packaging Recovery Evidence

  • Scotpak will calculate the obligation based on the data registered.
  • The obligation is fulfilled by the purchase of Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs).
  • PRNs are purchased from accredited re-processors based on recycling activity.
  • A PRN obligation is based on the type and volume of material handled.
  • When fulfilled the NPWD will issue a Certificate of Compliance (CoC).
  • Environmental compliance is a legal obligation of qualifying producers.
  • Failure to comply may attract civil penalties or criminal prosecution.

Scotpak Compliance Scheme

  • Registering as a member of a scheme such as Scotpak assures compliance.
  • We take on the administrative burdens of registration and data management.
  • We ensure your packaging systems and processes stay relevant and informed.
  • Based on the data you provide we take on your legal responsibility to comply.

If you think that your business might reach or breach the thresholds for the packaging waste obligations in Scotland or Great Britain we can help you make the best decisions for your business. Contact us for advice about how to become compliant and stay within the law.