EA publishes packaging regs Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Activity

May 5, 2023

The Packaging Waste Regulations require the Agencies to publish their Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement plans for the year. The EA has just published its report on their activity in 2022 relative to that plan with disappointing results. 

They have also just updated their 2022 CM&E Plan so it is difficult to compare the activity to the original Plan. However, what it shows is a very low level of compliance monitoring – <0.01% of producers, <20% of compliance schemes and <40% of reprocessors and exporters. 

The report shows that 27 direct registrant producers failed to comply with their 2022 obligations of which 9 were registered with the EA. This compares with 7 EA registered producers that failed to comply in 2021. It is known that 3 producers were subject to investigation in 2022 for their 2021 failure to comply, but this latest report gives no indication as to the conclusions of these investigations. It is therefore extremely frustrating that at the moment, there seems to be no penalty for non compliance in the producer sector. This makes a mockery of the system, especially as it will mean that a significant amount of the 2022 carry forward will have occurred because these companies did not but the PRNs they should have. 

The focus of the Agency’s compliance activity in 2022 was primarily on reprocessors and exporters but there is little information on the reasons for suspensions, cancellations and refusals.

The report acknowledges that the level of compliance monitoring and enforcement was down on the previous year (by 9.6%) despite being ‘fully operational’ following Covid and explains that this was due to the focus on other producer responsibility areas – WEEE and batteries. However, there was little sign of increased activity in those areas but without a similar report on their activity in these areas to what they publish for packaging, it is very hard to tell.