Environment and Health & Safety Legal Update Webinar – September 2023

On 14th September 2023 we held our environment and health & safety legal update webinar. During the session, we provided an overview of what has changed in environment and health & safety legislation in the past year. We also looked at any relevant legislation that is on the horizon.

The session began with a focus on the changes in environment legislation, including: 

  • The Plastic Packaging Tax: What you need to know
  • Navigating Extended Producer Responsibility
  • The Latest on RPS’s and Permits
  • The EU Revocation Act
  • Changes to the Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland.

We then moved on to look at key changes in H&S legislation, including: 

  • RoHS Regulations: Safeguarding the market from certain electronic equipment
  • The Amendment to Regulation (EC) 1272/2008: Simplifying chemical classification and labelling in the EU
  • The Building Safety Act 2022 and The Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004
  • Changes to REACH Regulations
  • The Control of Explosives Precursors and Poisons Regulations 2023.
Simple and clear legal updates specific to you

Questions & Answers

During the webinar, we gathered your questions and have answered them below. If you’d like to know more about our Consultancy Service or the Legislation Update Service, please contact us.

How does UK REACH affect the use of PFAS in manufacturing for export to the EU?

UK REACH doesn’t cover exports to the EU, it only covers domestic manufacture, use and importation to the UK. In terms of considering PFAS chemicals as part of manufacturing for export to the EU there are 2 things to consider:

  1. The status of the relevant PFAS chemicals under UK REACH, as several of these chemicals are already on the candidate list of substances of very high concern, e.g. perfluorobutane sulfonate. As such, there is the potential that manufacture using these substances within the UK may require authorisation in the future.
  2. The status of products containing PFAS chemicals in the European Union needs to also be considered moving forward, as even if there are no changes within the UK to UK REACH there may be restrictions applied in the EU restricting their importation there.

Are you aware of any guidance notes to help with the extended producer responsibility so people can have the requirements laid out step by step?

A full list of the requirements and process can be found on the Government website: Extended producer responsibility for packaging: who is affected and what to do.

Guidance on what data you need to collect and how to report it can be found on the Government website here.

If you are a subscriber to LUS then you can access the entry in your register for England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

We recently collaborated with Valpak to produce a webinar on Extended Producer Responsibility which you may also find useful. The webinar can be found here.

Extended producers - does this covers packaging importers and producers only or does this include manufacturers who purchase packaging within the UK to ship their product?

The Extended Producer Responsibility applies to anyone who does one or more of the following.

  • Supply packaged goods to the UK market under your own brand.
  • Place goods into unbranded packaging.
  • Import products in packaging.
  • Own an online marketplace.
  • Hire or loan out reusable packaging.
  • Supply empty packaging.

A producer can be:

  • a brand owner;
  • a packer / filler;
  • an importer;
  • a distributor;
  • an online marketplace operator;
  • a service provider; or
  • a seller.

If your company places a product in packaging, regardless of whether the packaging was imported then you might have obligations under the Regulations.

You can check the packaging activities that are covered here.

Thresholds for producer responsibilities can be found here.

Under the Extended Producer Responsibility Regs in calculating the amount of packaging imported / manufactured can you take off any packaging that is exported out of the UK on finished product in calculating whether you exceed the 25T threshold?

According to the current guidance, “your total weight is the amount of packaging in a calendar year (January to December) that you supplied through the UK market and/or imported, emptied and then discarded in the UK.

Considering the above, it seems fair to assume that “packaging that is exported out of the UK on finished product” does not fall in any of the above categories and, as such, should not be counted towards the total weight.

Does the plastic tax 2022 require recording even if the amount of plastic is below the threshold?

The Government Guidance states that you only need to register for the Plastic Packaging Tax if you exceed the specified threshold (10 tonnes).

If your total amount is below the threshold, then you don`t need to register for the Plastic Packaging Tax 2022.

Regarding the proposed changes to waste exemptions, where we operate a S1, S2 and T4 (and T13) on the same site and ideally want to continue the activities under each; have I interpreted correctly that this would currently necessitate the site to apply for a waste permit by April 2024 to ensure that we have it in place by the 6 month leeway given?

While the T4 exemption will continue to apply (under a changed name and conditions), the S1 and S2 will be prohibited from being registered at a site where there is a direct link to any other waste exemption.

As such, your interpretation is correct. To continue all current activities, the site will need to apply for and obtain a waste permit before the end of the 6 month transition period.

What happens if your Membership Scheme can't cope with the demand and your data validation is delayed and not submitted on time?

Under The Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) (England) Regulations 2023, organisations that are part of a registered compliance scheme* are exempt from the data reporting requirements. This means that the compliance scheme has taken on your obligation to report the data and it is their responsibility to submit the data on time.

*The list of registered compliance schemes can be found here.


EPR - How do you determine whether the packaging is household or non-household? For example, if you sell a construction product with packaging to a contractor or merchant, do you need to keep their VAT number to prove this?

Household packaging

Household packaging is primary* or shipment packaging** supplied to:

  • a final user; or
  • an organisation (including a distributor or wholesaler) that supplies the product in its original packaging to another organisation or end consumer.

*Primary packaging is the packaging used to contain a product e.g. a crisp packet.

**Shipment packaging is packaging used to ship a product directly to the consumer e.g. cardboard boxes and bubble wrap.

Non-household packaging

Non-household packaging is:

  • secondary* or tertiary packaging** that is supplied to the UK market; and
  • primary or secondary packaging supplied to an organisation that:
    • is the final user of that product; or
    • supplies the product without its original packaging.

*Secondary packaging is packaging used to group items together for sale or shipping purposes e.g. a cardboard tray.

**Tertiary packaging is packaging used to protect packaging during transport e.g. pallets.

Retaining evidence

Organisations must retain evidence to demonstrate that packaging is non-household packaging. N.B. If you cannot provide evidence then you must classify the packaging as household packaging.

Organisations must retain evidence for packaging that, due to its nature, can only be used by an organisation. This evidence must be kept for at least 7 years.

Evidence can include:

  • written customer confirmations;
  • customer contracts; and
  • invoices (including VAT numbers).

Further information on household and non-household packaging can be found here.

How will the deposit and return scheme in Scotland apply to online only retailers? Is there any guidance on enabling return process to customers?

Online-only retailers are not required to operate return points under The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020.

However, online-only retailers have an obligation to:

  • provide a takeback scheme for the collection of empty drink containers; and
  • reimburse customers for the 20 pence deposit.

The requirements for this takeback scheme are currently under review.

SEPA has also published a regulatory position statement which can be found here. This position statement indicates that enforcement action will not be taken against online retailers who do not offer a takeback service due to ongoing uncertainty regarding the scheme’s requirements. This position statement may be withdrawn at any time by SEPA.

More information on obligations for online retailers can be found here.

We are the operator of a student union shop (groceries and clothing) on a large university campus, where the supplier is NISA/the Co-Op. Should we be speaking to NISA/The Co-op to determine if we are liable for EPR? Our main business is ‘on-the-go’ lunch items (unsurprisingly packaged in a fair amount of plastic/PLA lined card and paper) though I suspect it comes in at under ten tonnes.

Extended producer responsibility applies to organisations that:

  • import packaging into the UK;
  • manufacture packaging within the UK;
  • supply products under their own brand;
  • sell packaging; or
  • fill empty packaging e.g. packaging goods or food.

The Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) (England) Regulations 2023 applies to organisations that:

  • have an annual turnover of £1 million or more; and
  • handled 25 tonnes or more of packaging or packaged goods in 2022.

You may need to collect and report packaging data if you supply packaged goods that are labelled with your own branding. This includes your name, your trademark or any other distinguishing mark. An example of this can be found here.

We advise clarifying with NISA / The Co-op as it will depend on your situation and whether the packaging is branded.

Further information on this can be found here.

We recently collaborated with Valpak to produce a webinar on Extended Producer Responsibility which you may find useful. The webinar can be found here.

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