UK: Producer Responsibility: Are You Affected?

Last Updated: 29 August 2006
Article by Aidan Thomson

Most businesses are well aware that, as a general rule, they could be committing one of a number of criminal offences if they fail to deal with any materials that they discard as waste in a responsible fashion. However, not all companies are fully aware of their additional waste obligations under the increasing amounts of "producer responsibility" waste legislation in the UK.

Producer responsibility legislation, which applies to any company operating in the UK, aims to ensure that businesses with a hand in manufacturing certain types of products or in putting them on the market have a degree of responsibility for the recovery and recycling of those products when the ultimate consumer discards them as waste.

The following categories of waste have become, or are soon to become, the subject of UK producer responsibility legislation:

  • Packaging and Packaging Waste
  • End of Life Vehicles ("ELV")
  • Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment ("WEEE")
  • Batteries

The UK’s producer responsibility legislation emanates from a series of EC Directives which address a concern throughout the EU that volumes of waste produced in the above categories are unsustainable and must be controlled. The categories of waste targeted by producer responsibility legislation can be expected to increase in the coming years, as can the amounts that producers are expected to recover and recycle.

Most obviously in the aerospace industry the legislation impacts upon companies engaged in manufacturing aerospace products. However, other businesses such as airport catering companies will also need to consider their obligations, for example, under the rules relating to packaging waste.

Aerospace industry companies that import goods in the above categories from outside the EU should also beware, since they will be considered to be the producer of those goods for producer responsibility purposes.

Packaging Waste

The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2005 require companies that turn over more than Ł2million and handle over 50 tonnes of glass, cardboard, plastic, aluminium and steel packaging every year, to register with the Environmental Agency and be responsible for a proportion of the recovery and recycling of the packaging once it is discarded. Associated Regulations restrict the materials that new packaging can contain.


The End Of Life Vehicles (Producer Responsibility) Regulations 2005 require vehicle "producers" (i.e. those that manufacturer vehicles or import vehicles into the UK) to register with the Secretary of State and to satisfy targets for the collection and treatment of their vehicles when they have come to the end of their lives. Associated Regulations restrict the materials that new vehicles can contain.


UK Regulations in respect of producer responsibility for WEEE are likely to appear in late 2006 and will provide that "producers" (i.e. those that manufacture electrical and electronic equipment, mark equipment manufactured by others with their own brand, or import equipment into the EU) register and be responsible for the costs of collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of WEEE. Associated regulations restrict the materials that new equipment can contain.


Publication of the Batteries Directive in the EU Official Journal is expected very soon, following which the UK will have two years to implement its measures into national law. It is anticipated that the Directive will require producers of batteries to be responsible for the collection and recycling of spent portable, automotive and industrial batteries. Associated Regulations will restrict the materials that new batteries can contain.

Compliance with the above producer responsibility legislation can usually be achieved with the help of a waste management company that specialises in the recovery and recycling of the types of waste in question. In addition, it is possible in some circumstances (e.g. in respect of WEEE) for the producer to transfer responsibility for recovery and recycling to the business end user.

Failure to comply with the UK’s producer responsibility legislation constitutes a criminal offence. Directors and other senior employees can also be prosecuted in connection with any wrongdoing on the part of their company.

The message is "don’t be caught out". If you manufacture or import new products in one of the targeted categories or otherwise have a hand in bringing them to the market, you could be subject to producer responsibility legislation.

Carriage of cargo

Impala Platinum Limited v KLM and Northwest Airlines Supreme Court of Appeal, South Africa, 30 May 2006 On 30 May 2006, the South African Supreme Court of Appeal held that a named consignor can sue for loss of cargo notwithstanding that it suffered no financial loss itself.

The claimant, Impala, was the named consignor under two air waybills for carriage of precious metals to the United States on KLM and Northwest Airlines. Both consignments had been sold to different purchasers "CIP" (Carriage insurance paid). At its own expense, Impala had insured both consignments. The consignments were never delivered but Impala’s insurers paid Impala for one of the consignments (for which the consignee had not yet paid) and the consignee for the other consignment (which the consignee had already paid for).

The lower court had rejected Impala’s claim on the basis that Impala had not itself suffered any financial loss. As a result the lower court considered that Impala had no right to bring proceedings in respect of the lost cargo. The Court of Appeal reversed the lower court’s decision and held that Impala had title to sue the airlines. The Court reviewed the wording of the Warsaw Convention and considered that it clearly provided that a named consignor had a right to bring a claim. The Court noted that the realities of modern day international air carriage meant that consignors were frequently nominally involved and were entitled to sue in order to vindicate the rights of others who had a recognisable interest in the cargo.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.