Know your regulation

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Catherine Wilson and Jamie Kunz, of ENDS Legal Compliance Manager, highlight some of the forthcoming legislation deadlines that printers need to familiarise themselves with

The potential effects a print works can have on the environment are both numerous and diverse, depending on the size and type of the operation. Some of the most obvious factors include discharges of waste process water containing solvents and inks into sewers or controlled waters; the release of volatile organic solvents (VOCs) into the air; waste generation (packaging, board, pallets, polythene, etc); significant energy consumption from powering equipment to heating; and even noise.

There are various key pieces of legislation governing how to manage these processes to minimise environmental impact. The following is a selection that are most relevant to printers.

Reach (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) provides a framework for the registration of chemicals and requires manufacturers and importers to evaluate the risks resulting from their use. The regulation covers chemicals manufactured or imported in quantities of at least one tonne per year. The registration process, which is estimated to cover around 30,000 chemicals, will take place over an 11-year period.

Reach timeline for compliance

1 December 2010
Registration deadline for manufacturers and importers of substances in quantities of over 1,000 tonnes per year, along with carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic (CMR) substances over one tonne per year and substances toxic to aquatic life of more than 100 tonnes per year

1 June 2013
Registration deadline for manufactures and importers supplying substances in quantities of more than  100 tonnes per year

1 December 2018
Registration deadline for manufacturers and importers supplying substances in quantities of more than one tonne per year

Packaging waste
A consultation is currently ongoing from Defra in conjunction with the Scottish government, the Welsh Assembly and the Department of the Environment of Northern Ireland, seeking views on proposed changes to the producer responsibility regime for packaging waste - recovery and recycling targets, funding transparency, etc - as set out under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007. The consultation closes in May this year.
Furthermore, Defra is developing a strategy on packaging called ‘Making the most of packaging - a strategy for a low-carbon economy', which builds on previous industry successes to address the challenges of the next 10 years, such as reversing overall packaging growth, and making the packaging that is used as resource-efficient as possible.

Strategy development timeline

Report on costs and benefits and logistics of moving to carbon-based targets
Potential UK consultation on carbon-based targets for packaging (to be confirmed)
Negotiations expected at EU-level on carbon-based targets for packaging (to be confirmed)

Climate Change Levy
A consultation from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) seeking views on a specific proposal for the form and content of Climate Change Agreements (CCAs), which are currently due to expire on 31 March 2013 and are set to be extended until 2017, closed on 15 February 2010. CCAs were introduced in 2001, and allow eligible energy-intensive sectors to benefit from an 80% reduction in the Climate Change Levy (CCL).

This reduction, however, under the terms of the 2009 Pre-Budget Report, is set to be reduced to 65% from 1 April 2011. A previous consultation, which was published in March 2009, set out a number of initial proposals and options on the extension of CCAs. The consultation document is published alongside a letter, a list of consultees, and a response form. A partial impact assessment will be made available from the DECC website shortly.

Pollution Inventory reporting

This is guidance, from the Environment Agency (EA), which provides access to relevant forms and tools for reporting to the Pollution Inventory (PI), an annual record of pollution in England and Wales from selected EA regulated activities. The main objectives of the PI are to provide an information stream to the public on pollution from industrial and other sources, both in their local area and nationally; help environmental regulators to protect the environment; and help the government to meet national and international commitments and reporting obligations. This guidance was updated in February 2010. The deadline for submitting PI data was 28 February 2010, and the deadline for submitting resource efficiency data is 30 April 2010.

ENDS Legal Compliance Manager (ELCM), produced by PrintWeek publisher Haymarket Business Media, is the award-winning online knowledge base for environmental compliance and policy activities. ELCM helps users to identify and understand relevant UK and European law, thanks to its comprehensive database and policy briefings, and keep up-to-date with relevant developments through email alerts. The database is easy to use and ELCM’s dedicated team is on hand to provide help and advice.   

To sign up for a free trial, visit


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