Guidance

Packaging waste: become a packaging producer compliance scheme (PCS)

How to apply for PCS approval, register, take on packaging producer responsibilities and comply under the approval.

PCSs provide a service for packaging producers. The producers join a scheme as members. For a charge, the PCS takes on their packaging producer legal obligations.

Packaging PCS: apply for approval

If your business is in England you need to contact the Environment Agency to apply for approval to operate a PCS.

If your business is in:

Approved or appropriate person

You must be an approved or appropriate person to:

  • sign applications for PCS approval and registration
  • submit data and declaration of compliance statements

The approved or appropriate person must be one of these legal entities:

  • a director or company secretary of a company registered in the UK
  • a partner in a partnership
  • an individual operating as a sole trader
  • a person who has control or management of the business

Use the delegation of approved/appropriate person form if you want to delegate your function to another person. Sign the form and send it to your environmental regulator.

PCS registration

Once approved you need to get an account set up on the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD) so you can register your PCS.

If your business is in England email packaging@environment-agency.gov.uk to get a login. If your business is in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland you need to ask for a login from your relevant environmental regulator.

You must:

  • register your PCS and members details in NPWD by 15 April each year
  • provide full details of the agreement for the constitution of the PCS including any rules or regulations the members must follow
  • provide a statement of the PCS policies, which should include:
    • details of the steps it will take to increase the use of recycled packaging waste in the manufacture of products or materials supplied by its members
    • the methods by which packaging waste will be recovered and recycled through the scheme
    • information about the steps the user or consumer may take to help the PCS apply these methods
    • pay the appropriate fee

When you submit your registration the relevant environmental regulator will assess your application. They may ask you for more information. You will be notified of the decision within 28 days.

Conditions of the approval

To get your PCS approved and to maintain your approval, you must:

  • complete the registration template provided by your environmental regulator
  • ensure all of your members’ data is correct
  • provide resources to your members so they can meet their Consumer Information Obligation (CIO), including access to information on their role in reuse, recycling and recovery of packaging and packaging waste; return, collection and recovery systems; the meaning of recycling and recovery symbols and the latest waste strategy guidance

  • meet your members’ recycling and recovery obligations
  • ensure you have acquired sufficient electronic packaging recovery notes (ePRNs) and electronic packaging export recovery notes (ePERNs) to meet your members recycling and recovery targets
  • submit a yearly statement of compliance confirming how you’ve met your member’s obligations and CIO
  • keep records for 4 years

Penalties for non-compliance

You must comply with the conditions of approval of your registration.

If you don’t, your environmental regulator may withdraw your approval and cancel your registration.

If you fail to comply you may face prosecution under criminal law. In England and Wales there are also civil penalties available. These include:

  • fixed penalty fines for minor offences
  • higher fines for a more serious offence
  • an enforcement undertaking – an offer, formally accepted by your environmental regulator that redresses the impact of your non-compliance

Contact the environmental regulators

England

Telephone: 03708 506 506

Email: packaging@environment-agency.gov.uk

Producer Responsibility Regulatory Services (PRRS)
Environment Agency
Quadrant 2
99 Parkway Avenue
Parkway Business Park
Sheffield
S9 4WF

Wales

Telephone: 0300 065 3096

Email: packaging@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

Producer Responsibility Unit
Natural Resources Wales
Rivers House
St Mellons Business Park
St Mellons
Cardiff
CF3 0EY

Scotland

Email: producer.responsibility@sepa.org.uk

Telephone: 07786 457700

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
Producer Compliance and Waste Shipment Unit
Strathallan House
Castle Business Park
Stirling
FK9 4TZ

Northern Ireland

Telephone: 028 9056 9387

Email: packaging@daera-ni.gov.uk

Producer Responsibility Unit
Northern Ireland Environment Agency
Klondyke Building
Cromac Avenue
Gasworks Business Park
Lower Ormeau Road
Belfast
BT7 2JA

Legislation and regulations

See packaging and packaging waste legislation and regulations:

Published 9 May 2014
Last updated 15 December 2016 + show all updates
  1. Content updated to include 2016 amendments to Regulations. PCSs apply to environmental regulators for approval rather than government ministers. PCSs no longer need to submit an operational plan.
  2. New text that explains what an approved person is and a link to the delegation of approved/appropriate person form.
  3. First published.