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Red Bull fined $450k for avoiding recycling regulations

Clearly recycling is a hot-button topic the world over, one reason why debates over plastic bag bans are so heated in so many corners of the world. Packaging processors and users certainly need to heed local regulations regarding waste management. One that didn’t and now must pay is Red Bull, the Austrian supplier of the energy drink of the same name, which has been fined a record amount for packaging waste offenses in England. Red Bull Co.

Clearly recycling is a hot-button topic the world over, one reason why debates over plastic bag bans are so heated in so many corners of the world. Packaging processors and users certainly need to heed local regulations regarding waste management. One that didn’t and now must pay is Red Bull, the Austrian supplier of the energy drink of the same name, which has been fined a record amount for packaging waste offenses in England. Red Bull Co. Ltd., its London-based subsidiary, was ordered to pay £271,800 (about $450,000) on July 27, 2009 by the country’s Environmental Agency after failing to recover and recycle its packaging waste.

The beverage importer pleaded guilty to charges of failing to register with the Environment Agency as a producer of packaging waste, and charges of failing to meet its requirements to recover and recycle packaging waste with respect to each of the eight years between 1999 and 2006, a total of 16 charges. Red Bull’s penalty is about £45,000 higher than the previous record EA fine paid by Western Wines Ltd.

The fine stems from the company’s failure to adhere to the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007, which states that businesses with an annual turnover in excess of a specified amount (£2 million since 2000) and that handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging each year must be registered with the Environment Agency or a compliance scheme. Each year, obligated businesses must also provide evidence of payment for the recovery and recycling of packaging waste. The regulations make businesses take responsibility for the packaging waste they produce by making them pay towards overall recovery and recycling costs. By not registering it was estimated that Red Bull saved more than £180,000.

Red Bull Company Ltd. eventually approached the Environment Agency to say that it was not registered and admitted that its turnover and packaging handled were more than the threshold limits allowed by the regulations.

Red Bull Deutschland (Germany) and Alpla, its packaging supplier there, have been taken to court by PET supplier M&G for what it claims are patent infringement violations of its patents for processing of barrier preforms, as reported earlier by PlasticsToday.com. [email protected]

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