A supplier of premium ice cream and frozen desserts has been ordered to pay more than £17,500 for failing to comply with waste packaging legislation.
Guildford Magistrates’ Court ordered Scholler Ice Cream Limited to pay fines of £7,500, £7,656 in avoided registration fees and £2,499 in costs to the Environment Agency, a total of £17,655.
The company is part of the Nestle Group and imports and supplies Movenpick Ice Cream and more than 150 other dessert products. It pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to six offences of failing to register with the Environment Agency under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 and for failing to meet obligations to recover and recycle packaging waste for the years 2006-08. It asked the court to take a further 12 similar offences into consideration for the years 2000-05.
Charges were brought under Regulations 4(2) and 40(1) of the 2007 Regulations for failing to register with the Environment Agency and failing to recover and recycle packaging waste. These are either way offences for which the court has power, on summary conviction, to impose a fine up to £5,000 and on conviction on indictment to impose an unlimited fine.
Scholler first became aware of the full extent of the requirements to register and recycle after the Environment Agency contacted it in October 2009. It has since registered with a compliance scheme. To be obligated by the Regulations a company must have a turnover of more than £2m and have handled more than 50 tonnes of packaging the previous year. The company responded to Environment Agency enquiries which showed it met both these thresholds and should have been registered since 2000.
It was estimated the company avoided costs of £7,656 by not registering, and £5,756 by not purchasing the correct amount of Packaging Recovery Notes to cover its recycling obligation from 2000-08. The company’s main packaging activity is that of importer and seller, and materials handled included cardboard cases, plastic and wood pallets.
Magistrates gave credit for the company’s early guilty plea and cooperation with the Environment Agency throughout its investigation.
Carol Getting, Investigating Officer for the Environment Agency, said:
“It is disappointing that although the Regulations have been in force for over a decade, the requirements are still widely misunderstood. The Packaging Regulations generate more than £80m of investment into the recycling industry annually and have driven a significant reduction in packaging waste being disposed in landfill.”