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Whatever your size or industry, if you’re a business, organisation or local authority in the north of England, The GBN is your one-stop-shop for all things environmental. More specifically, we’ve made it our mission to help you save money, stay compliant, go green and boost your reputation, all at the same time.

  • We make it simple for you to save money, by helping you to reduce your energy, water, paper and waste bills by up to 45%.
  • We make it simple to stay legal, by helping you comply with regulations and avoid hefty fines.
  • We make it simple to add value to your brand, by helping you gain accreditations.
  • We make it simple to meet your CSR targets, by improving your efficiency, shrinking your waste and helping you recycle.

If you do manage to find something we can’t help you with, we almost certainly know someone who can. So call in for a chat – the first hour is always free.

20 Years

Is your business legally compliant?

We’ll give you the answer, and the solution if it’s a ‘no’.

The Producer Responsibility Regulations (Packaging Waste) 2007 mean lots of businesses have clear legal obligations when it comes to their packaging waste.

You’ll need to take action if you meet these two criteria:

  • Turnover of £2m per year
  • Handle over 50 tonnes of packaging per year

Not sure what 50 tonnes looks like?

  • 5 pallets of packed goods per day
  • 1 articulated lorry load of goods per week

Want to learn more? Get in touch

Save money, protect the planet, safeguard your reputation…

Investors in the Environment (iiE) is a well-established national environmental accreditation and membership scheme that helps small and medium sized business in three ways. Firstly, it helps businesses save money by reducing their energy bills. Secondly, it helps them reduce the impact of their everyday work on the environment. Last but not least, it helps them build their brand and safeguard their reputation by earning official recognition for their environmental achievements. The scheme is operated here in the Yorkshire & Humber region by our friendly GBN team.

Want to learn more? Get in touch

What about other environmental questions?

We can help your business with pretty much any environmental question.

We offer support to

  • write and maintain your environmental management system
  • create and maintain your environmental Legal Register
  • work out your Carbon Footprint
  • achieve ISO14001 accreditation

We also offer advice on energy supply, waste disposal and environmental permitting and an independent audit service if you need it.

Our first hour is always free.

Get in touch

Pennine Pack

Pennine Pack

Summary of HMRC Plastic Packaging Tax Guidance (Jan 2022).

It seems to have taken a while for HMRC to sort out some useful guidance for the Plastic Packaging Tax that comes into effect from April 2022.

Affected business who will have to register will:

  • Import or manufacture more than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging.
  • Affected businesses will have to work out whether their (packaging) products contain more than 30% recycled content.
  • (Packaging) products with less than 30% recycled content will be taxed at a rate of £200/t.
  • Businesses can pass on this cost, just as they do with VAT.

That is the (very) short version but there are hundreds of questions to work out what is in and what is out.

We started with these pages:

A new hub was added in November with most of the links that you are likely to need on the .gov.uk website:

This contains links with the following titles:

  1. Work out which packaging is subject to Plastic Packaging Tax
  2. Decide if you need to register for Plastic Packaging Tax
  3. How to work out the weight of packaging for Plastic Packaging Tax
  4. When you must register for Plastic Packaging Tax
  5. Register for Plastic Packaging Tax
  6. Record keeping and accounts for Plastic Packaging Tax & due diligence
    and
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-make-due-diligence-checks-for-plastic-packaging-tax
  7. Claim a credit or defer paying Plastic Packaging Tax
  8. Completing your Plastic Packaging Tax return

There are also a few other pages that are not indexed. I can only assume that somebody has a twisted sense of humour

  • Check which plastic packaging is exempt or excluded from Plastic Packaging Tax - Examples of packaging that is included in your calculations and those that can be excluded.
    • There are 4 exempt categories
    • Long term storage, packaging that is integral to the goods, ‘reused for the presentation of goods’ (point of sale displays). NB the HMRC definitions may not match the definitions that DEFRA use, so do check! – see ‘packaging in and out of scope’, above, for specific examples.

TheGBN Wins a Third Green Apple for Helping the Environment

At TheGBN were delighted to be recognised for our work to support British recycling in our packaging compliance schemes over the last ten years with the presentation of a Silver Green Apple Award in London on Monday 15th November.

THE GBN

Back in 2009 we looked at our carbon footprint. We realised that the impact of shipping waste so China to recycle was around 1,000 times more polluting than all of our other scope 1 & scope 2 emissions.

It seemed a natural progression that we should strive to reduce our business’ environmental impact by avoiding recyclers who shipped waste to the Far East, particularly China where labour costs were much lower than those in Europe. In doing so we realised that we could offer something to our customers which our competitors did not – a lower carbon Packaging Compliance option.

We took the simple mantra ‘Think Global Act Local’ and started to work with recyclers in the UK wherever possible. We set up the Ethical Compliance scheme that is committed to buying all of its PRNs from recyclers in the UK, and set ambitious Targets to increase the percentage of UK PRNs purchased in all our schemes.

goal

We may not have hit all the targets but over the last ten years we have almost doubled the size of our business and we are buying four times as many recycling certificates (PRNs) from recyclers in the UK.

growth

If you would like to know more about what we do and how we do it, please get in touch directly: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For details of our previous Green Apple Awards, please see these articles.

https://thegbn.co.uk/news-and-events/news/item/119-pennine-pack-and-investors-in-the-environment-win-two-awards-at-the-houses-of-parliament

https://thegbn.co.uk/news-and-events/news/item/68-pennine-pack-win-green-apple-award-for-environmental-best-practice

Environment Act 2021 passes into law

The long awaited Environment Bill passed into law on 9th November.

The Government seem beside themselves with excitement that they have got this over the line. Hopefully it will be able to do the job that it needs to. The official press release claims that:

Legislation that will protect and enhance our environment for future generations has now passed into UK law.

Through the Act, we will clean up the country’s air, restore natural habitats, increase biodiversity, reduce waste and make better use of our resources.

It will halt the decline in species by 2030, require new developments to improve or create habitats for nature, and tackle deforestation overseas.

It will help us transition to a more circular economy, incentivising people to recycle more, encouraging businesses to create sustainable packaging, making household recycling easier and stopping the export of polluting plastic waste to developing countries.

These changes will be driven by new legally binding environmental targets, and enforced by a new, independent Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) which will hold government and public bodies to account on their environmental obligations.

We have prepared a blow-by-blow summary of the sections that will allow you to identify those areas which you need to read for yourselves.. Follow this link..

Calderdale Community Spirit Awards 2021

We are very much looking forward to attending the Calderdale Community Spirit Awards 2021 on 25th Nov where we TheGBN are privileged to be sponsors of the Great & Green award. The finalists have just been announced: https://cffc.co.uk/finalists-for-the-calderdale-community-spirit-awards-2021-announced/

Our Director, John Mooney is a trustee with Next Step Trust who have been shortlisted for the Covid - Above and beyond award, and Access Hospitality who have been shortlisted for Breakthrough of the Year award.

And as if that weren't enough John himself has been nominated for the Outstanding Individual Achievement award.

 

We wish all the nominees the best of luck!

Extended Producer Responsibility

Extended Producer Responsibility has been pushed forward by the Government to ‘fix’ all obstacles to recycling packaging waste and coincidentally reduce Central Government funding towards the cost of collecting waste packaging from households across the UK. It is expected to cost around £2.7 billion in its first full year of operation.

We had a consultation in March – June this year and are still waiting for the results to be published. Talking by video link to the RWM trade show on 22 Sept, Chris Preston, the deputy director for resources and waste at Defra said that the department’s response to the consultations on these waste reforms will be published “later this year or early next” blaming Covid-19 for the delay. He also pointed out that the Environment Bill was also delayed and the latter was “absolutely core to underpinning our ability to deliver reforms”.

The timetable to implement the new regulations are ambitious and these delays make it increasingly unlikely that EPR will be up and running on-time in 2023.

https://www.letsrecycle.com/news/defra-could-publish-consultation-responses-next-year/

Energy Efficiency

With fuel shortages, a problem with our underwater link to European electricity and rising gas prices, I am beginning to feel that I am trapped in a historic reality TV show set in the 1970s. Fortunately my MacBook and Wifi are allowed!

I thought it might be helpful to have a quick dip into some energy saving guides that I keep for posterity and inspiration.

5 top tips to combat increasing energy prices:

  1. Make sure that you are on the best tariff – look for a website that helps you to switch. Here is a link for domestic tariffs but some have business energy websites too. https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/switching-energy-tariff-or-supplier
  2. Install and use heating controls – We zone lighting so that we only have lights on where and when we want them on. Heating is just the same. Use thermostatic controls on radiators so that you can set the temperature in each room / area and use a timer to heat when you need it. If your set-up is simple you could control your heating from your phone and monitor energy usage via a smart meter as many of us do at home. For bigger business with Building Management Systems it is probably more important to make sure that it is optimised.
  3. Close doors and windows – It is simply a waste of money to heat a building while the doors and windows are open. In a previous life, our warehouse reduced energy loss by fitting an interlock that turned off the heating whenever the door was open – I wish I could remember the numbers but it was a significant proportion of energy.
  4. Insulate to save – Insulating the loft of a typical house can save about £150 per year. Just scale it up for bigger premises. Insulating the walls could add another £100 - £350 in energy savings.
  5. Make sure your boiler is operating efficiently – Servicing your boiler is a good idea and if you don’t have a condensing boiler, consider the upgrade to a new boiler (but the payback may be more than 5 years). The difference between an A rated and a G rated boiler is around £200 per year for a typical house.

And while there are queues for petrol, here are John’s top 5 tips to help improve fuel efficiency:

  1. Check your tyre pressures – Under inflated tyres drag and waste petrol. Over inflated tyres reduce your grip on the road.
  2. Remove excess weight from your vehicle. Remove all that junk that you do not need to carry with you everywhere.
  3. Reduce drag - Remove roof racks and roof boxes unless they are actually in use. They just create drag and waste petrol
  4. Take your time! – no seriously, roads around us in West Yorkshire are generally so busy that you are not going to pass the whole queue of cars, busses and trucks in front of you so just ease off a little, accelerate more gently and ease off the gas before you need to brake.
    But if the road does clear, for a 20-mile journey:
    @ 55mph estimated fuel consumption 50mpg and takes 22mins
    @ 70mph estimated fuel consumption 41mpg and takes 17 mins
    https://www.mpgforspeed.com
  5. Aircon… Aircon costs 1 – 2% on your fuel economy but if you have the windows open above 40mph the air turbulence may cost more. You could turn it off unless it is a really hot day!

Plastics Packaging Tax - Autumn 2021

 

Update 25 Oct 2021 - HMRC issue updated and simplified guidance on PPT. Please click here to go to the PPT FAQs.

The UK is set to introduce a new Plastics Packaging Tax from April 2022. In case you are new to this, the tax will be paid by manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging (including plastic packaging filled on importation) that contains less than 30% recycled plastic and will be set at a rate of £200 per tonne.To ensure the tax does not disproportionately impact small businesses, those that manufacture or import less than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging each year will not need to register or pay the tax. All businesses above this threshold must register, including businesses who already include more than 30% recycled plastic in their packaging.

To support businesses, HMRC published ‘Get your business ready for the Plastic Packaging Tax’ guidance on GOV.UK, which provides an overview and further information on the tax. The ‘Further information for businesses’ part of the guidance has recently been updated to provide further detail on:

  • The types of plastic packaging subject to the tax, including single-use products, such as carrier bags, sandwich bags and disposable cups.
  • Who is liable for the tax and when it is charged, by clarifying what is considered ‘last substantial modification’.
  • Delay on the requirement to include a statement with your invoice that the tax has been paid. This was due to commence in April 2022.

HMRC has also produced two ‘decision tree’ documents to provide a step-by-step guide to help business determine if plastic packaging is in scope of the tax, and who is required to account and potentially pay the tax:

  1. PPT – scope decision tree
  2. PPT – liability to register decision tree

Want to get involved in Research for Plastic Packaging Tax?

5th Oct 2021 - HMRC are looking to meet with people working in organisations who will assess liability for the Plastic Packaging Tax with a need to register for tax services, file returns and make payments. This is to get insight and test the service journey.

If you or your organisation would like to participate in a research session, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a contact name and email address of a suitable person who they can speak with.

Once you have sent your contact details, over the next few weeks you may be contacted by HMRC research services team with further details on how to take part. The session will take no longer than 1 hour.

Plastics Packaging Tax – Update May 2021

The Government are pushing a new tax on plastic packaging that will come into force in April 2022, driven by HMRC that will apply a tax of £200/t on any plastic packaging that does not contain 30% recycled content. The intention of the tax is to encourage greater recycled content in plastics packaging.

Photo of plastic packaging

Think of it as a new form of VAT. If your business creates plastic packaging or your businesses imports plastics packaging your business will be obliged to register with HMRC and pay the tax if you can not demonstrate that it contains 30% recycled content. Your business will then pass this tax down the packaging chain via an extra line on invoices until it gets to the consumer.

There is an exemption for businesses that create or import less than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging AND less than one tonne contains less than 30% recycled plastic.

If your business makes or imports plastic packaging you will need to keep records to show that you were below the threshold or to demonstrate the recycled content of that plastic packaging.

If you buy plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled content you can expect to start to see this new extra line for plastics packaging tax on your supplier invoices. You are expected to add this plastics packaging tax to your invoices when you sell the packaging on (whether it is empty or filled).

If your business will be exporting plastic packaging that was subject to the tax it will be possible to defer the tax, or claim a rebate.

There are 4 exemptions:

  • Plastic packaging that will be in contact with a medicinal product
  • Transit packaging around imported goods
  • Plastic packaging used for international journeys (unless it is released into the UK)
  • Plastic components that are not intended to be used as packaging (ie: the components will not be used for the containment, protection, handling, delivery or presentation of goods)

The guidance talks about components – the individual units that may be used – such as bottles, caps or labels and whether each component has 30% recycled content.

What counts as recycled plastic? – Recycled plastic is plastic that has previously been processed. It can include pre-consumer and post-consumer material that would otherwise have been waste. The definition is fairly open but you cannot use process waste from the same process in which it was generated as ‘recycled content’, so it looks like process waste, offcuts and trimming waste will not be eligible as recycled waste in your own processes. This is something to check once the legislation is passed.

The guidance is heavily reliant upon record keeping because it vis probably impossible to prove whether plastic actually contains 30% recycled content by ‘scientific terms’ (meaning that you cannot test for recycled content in the laboratory).

HMRC has two web pages that may be useful to you:

Is your business ready for plastics packaging tax? https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/get-your-business-ready-for-the-plastic-packaging-tax/get-your-business-ready-for-the-plastic-packaging-tax

Further information https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/get-your-business-ready-for-the-plastic-packaging-tax/further-information-for-businesses

PENNINE PACK AND INVESTORS IN THE ENVIRONMENT WIN TWO AWARDS AT THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT

The GBN, a Yorkshire micro-business, has been presented with two Green Apple Awards earlier today in recognition of their Environmental Best Practice at the Houses of Parliament in London.

Two of The GBN’s divisions were recognised within their individual fields at the Awards: Investors in the Environment won the Green Champion Award for environmental best practice in the service industries for their work with companies, assisting them to reduce their environmental impact by the implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS), with a real focus on practical implementation. Pennine Pack won a Bronze Award for best practice in the packaging and paper industries, helping companies to comply with packaging regulations whilst actively supporting the UK recycling industry.

Commenting on the awards, John Mooney, Director of The GBN said “We are thrilled to be recognised in areas where small businesses can often be overlooked. Collectively SME’s and micro-businesses can make a huge difference to our economy and supporting UK business is essential for the future” he added, “Investors in the Environment is brilliant for employee engagement and is extremely accessible for all businesses whatever their size or core business. Last year we helped our members to save the equivalent of just over 5,500t of CO2 emissions”.

Pennine-Pack’s Low Carbon Packaging Compliance Scheme, works across many different industry sectors helping companies to work beyond legal compliance, to reduce their carbon impact for waste and recycling, and it continues to be committed to supporting the UK recycling industry. Buying PRNs from Recyclers in the UK avoided emissions of just over 7,900t of CO2 because waste was recycled in the UK and not in China.

With regard to, Pennine Pack, John commented “We had the foresight in 2012 to see the inevitability of the recent changes in the waste recycling market. Therefore, last year, once China had made its position clear that it would no longer accept volume waste from other countries, our clients were already ahead of the curve using a domestic solution supporting the UK recycling industry.”

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