Almost all businesses in the borough use packaging to some extent to pack goods in the course of conducting their business. All residents are consumers and purchase goods, probably daily, which are contained in packaging.
Why should we be concerned about packaging?
In the UK we produce around 10 million tonnes of packaging waste every year. A large amount of this waste ends up in landfill sites using up valuable space which is quickly running out.
The huge cost of disposing of our rubbish falls to the local authority and this cost is set to significantly increase year on year. Also vast amounts of energy and natural resources are used to produce this packaging in the first place and the cost of this falls as damage to the environment and to the pockets of consumers.
So it makes good economic and environmental sense to keep the amount of packaging used to wrap up goods to a minimum.
What’s it got to do with Trading Standards?
Trading Standards have a duty to enforce the Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations 2003. These regulations contain many technical requirements, but basically require the following:
- Packaging weight and volume must be kept to the minimum amount necessary to maintain levels of safety and hygiene and which is acceptable to the public
- Packaging must be manufactured so as to allow reuse or recovery in accordance with technical requirements
- Noxious and hazardous chemicals in packaging must be kept to a minimum
What action can Trading Standards take?
Either acting on complaints from the public or from traders or on our regular inspections of trade premises, Trading Standards will examine the packaging around goods which is thought to be excessive.
If we consider it to be excessive we will pursue the matter with the person responsible which will usually be the packer or importer of the goods. If the person responsible for the excessive packaging does not agree to mend their ways and reduce their packaging to acceptable levels then enforcement action can be taken.This could include a criminal prosecution.
What can I do to help?
If you come across examples of excessive packaging you should inform Trading Standards who will look into the matter.
- If you are a trader in the borough please inform the Trading Standards duty officer on 020 8891 7117.
- If you are a consumer please contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06.