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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. 

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

Mandatory reporting of climate impact for UKs top 1,300 companies.


From April 2022, over 1,300 of the largest businesses in the UK will have to disclose climate related financial information.

Businesses with more than 500 employees and over £500m turnover will have to report information in line with recommendations from the Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosures including:

  • Identifying the principal climate related risks and opportunities arising from the company’s activities
  • a description of the actual and potential impacts of the principal climate-related risks and opportunities on the company’s business model and strategy;
  • an analysis of the resilience of the company’s business model and strategy, taking into consideration different climate-related scenarios;
  • a description of the targets used by the company to manage climate-related risks and to realise climate-related opportunities and of performance against those targets; and
  • a description of the key performance indicators used to assess progress against targets used to manage climate-related risks and realise climate-related opportunities.

Clean air zones – Will your business have to pay?

Update: Bradford’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) will go live on Monday 26 Sept 2022. Click here for more details.

Clean Air zones are a thing! Three city centres now have them: Bath, Birmingham, Portsmouth. They are planned for Bradford and Bristol before the end of 2022. Greater Manchester is currently under review. Other cities may also decide to add Clean Air Zones in the near future.

  • Portsmouth is charging for: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles
  • Bath is charging for: the above plus vans & minibuses
  • Birmingham is charging for: all the above plus cars and the local authority has the option to include motorcycles

What can companies do about this?

For each type of vehicle, there is an exemption for vehicles that meet a minimum emission standard. Follow this link for more information and click-through to see whether your fleet will be exempt:

Fore-warned is fore-armed. My hybrid Toyota is exempt in all zones, but not very good if you need to deliver a pallet load of goods.

EPR – Extended Producer Responsibility – Guidance published


What is it all about?

The Government is passing the cost of collecting and sorting waste packaging that is found in household bins to businesses that handle packaging. This will begin in 2024.

The most recent guidance has been published here.

It is not very detailed so you might want to read my notes too.

Who is obligated?

  • Companies who are currently covered by the ‘Packaging regs’ will continue to buy PRNs to subsidise the cost of recycling their share of packaging handled
  • Under EPR responsibilities will be shifted around so that brand owners, importers, online marketplaces and distributors of empty packaging will have to subsidise the cost of collecting and sorting waste packaging that is likely to end up in household bins
  • Sellers of packaging, distributors of empty packaging, online marketplaces, and importers of packaging likely to end up in household bins will have to report information about how much was likely to become waste by nation (England, Wales, Scotland & NI)
  • Businesses that turn over more than £1m but less than £2m and handle between 25 and 50t of packaging per year will have to register but will not have to buy PRNs or contribute to EPR.
  • Businesses using disposable paper based cups with more than 10FTE employees will have to offer a takeback bin for used fibre-based cups (coffee cups) and report the quantity collected and sent for recycling.
  • Producers and retailers of drinks containers will..Under separate Deposit Return Scheme legislation, have to contribute towards the cost of running a deposit return system.
    • It is proposed to apply to all drinks containers from 50ml to 3 litres.
    • Materials included
      • All nations will include metal & plastic drinks containers
      • England & NI will exclude glass bottles from their DRS
      • Scotland and Wales will include glass.
    • This has huge potential for confusion if not fraud.

Changes to reporting

  • A new material category to cover fibre-based containers (coffee cups)
  • Sub reporting of polymer type and other sub types is likely to be included under EPR
  • Subtype of reporting for whether the packaging is primary, secondary or tertiary
  • Reporting will extend to whether your packaging is likely to end up in domestic waste bins. And to be specific, it will be assumed that your waste ends up in the domestic stream unless you have ‘clear evidence’ to the contrary.
  • As indicated above, some businesses will have to report where their packaging ends up (England, Wales, Scotland & NI)
  • And, I did not spot it in the feedback but they may ask what colour socks you are wearing (Sorry, I got bored but decided to leave it to see who reads it all. Well done.)
  • Businesses will have to report data twice per year:
    • Jan – Jul in October
    • July – Dec in March


  • Producers will have to continue to buy PRNs until at least 2027.
  • For waste that is likely to end up in household waste bins, Brand owners, importers, online market places and distributors of empty packaging will have to contribute towards the cost of collecting and sorting that waste. This will go to the Scheme Administrator (a Government appointed body) who will in turn pay Local Authorities for collection and sorting waste, known as ‘Full Net Cost’.
    • This is likely to be around 5 – 10 times what you are currently paying for PRNs.
    • The cost of the subsidy will vary by material and reflect the ease with which it can be recycled.


Defra have published a timeline for implementation.

  • Existing Producer responsibility
    • as usual to end of 2023 (but restart within EPR below, reporting twice per year).


  • Extended Producer Responsibility
    • 2022 – Companies assess whether their business is obligated for EPR in 2023
    • Sep 2023 - Company report Jan – Jun packaging handled
    • Oct 2023 - Scheme Administrator receives data (Jan – Jun ’23) & estimates initial costs. Issue invoices
    • Mar 2024 - Company report Jul – Dec packaging handled
    • April 2024 - Scheme Administrator receives data (Jul – Dec ’23) & updates costs. Issue invoices.
    • April 2024 - company pays 1st invoice to Scheme Administrator
    • July 2024 - company pays 2nd invoice to Scheme Administrator
    • Oct 2024 - company pays 3rd invoice to Scheme Administrator
    • Jan 2025 - company pays 4th invoice to Scheme Administrator
    • Jan 2025 - Scheme Administrator reconcile and calculate end of year charge / rebate
    • Jan – Dec 2024 - Compliance Schemes buy PRNs (based on data submitted Sept 2023 & Mar 2024) and invoice accordingly.
  • Repeat on an annual cycle.

Congratulations if you made it this far. If it makes you feel better, the first five emails that I receive with a subject line ‘free pin badge’ and your address in the body of text will get a free GBN logo pin badge by return.

The consultation response documents can be found here:

PRN / Packaging Compliance consultation

In a consultation earlier in 2022, a number of changes were being considered that will make the PRN system more robust. There is no need for members to be familiar with the changes but here is a link

  • Perhaps most important for producers, the PRN system needs to remain in place until the EPR(Extended Producer Responsibility) system is in place and fully working. This is estimated to be until at least 2026 / 27.
  • All recyclers / exporters of packaging waste will have to be registered AND if they wish to issue PRNs they will need to be accredited, as well as passing an operator competence test. The Government is looking to see if digital waste tracking could also help to reduce fraud.
  • The Government is also seeking to reduce the volatility of PRN prices that may include:
    • A requirement to report PRNs on a monthly basis (to make it more transparent when there is a genuine shortage of PRNs)
    • A requirement to report PRN revenue on a monthly basis (to make prices more transparent)
    • A shelf life for PRNs (to prevent sellers from hoarding PRNs to push prices up)
    • Whether the PRN cycle should allow PRNs to be traded more freely at the end of a year if there is a shortage in a particular material
    • A technical competence test for scheme operators, reprocessors and exporters
  • The Government also sought views on the impact of the Deposit Return Scheme that will take drinks containers out of the PRN system and
  • Asked whether we need a ‘compliance fee’ for producers that fail to buy sufficient PRNs

For more information, please visit the consultation site:

Single use plastics Ban

sup infographic

Below a quick update on Single Use Plastics. The quick version –


Problematic single use plastics are effectively banned in Scotland from 1st June.

Items on the list include the following single-use plastic items:

  • Cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks and other similar utensils)
  • Plates;
  • Beverage stirrers;
  • Food containers made of expanded polystyrene;
  • Cups and lids made of expanded polystyrene.

The regulations also make it unlawful to supply commercially the items below. These items are subject to exemptions which allow them to be supplied in particular settings and circumstances:

  • Plastic straws;
  • Plastic balloon sticks;

Single Use Plastics across UK

source -

Plastic Packaging Tax - Summer 2022

PPT (Plastics Packaging Tax), as it is known came into effect in April 2022 and will apply a tax of £200/t on plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled content.

Additional guidance

The Government has published some additional guidance in their ‘Force of law guidance’ dated 21 Mar 2022 that clarifies a few gaps in defining what sufficient evidence might look like and what constitutes due diligence.

Sufficient evidence

“Sufficient evidence that plastic is recycled plastic for the purpose of regulation 6(1) is business records in writing (including in electronic form) that show:

  1. the origin and content of the recycled material;
  2. dates of manufacture and import of the plastic packaging components; and
  3. the proportion of the recycled plastic contained in the output materials of the recycling process.”

Due diligence

“The factors which will be taken into account in considering whether due diligence carried out is sufficient in cases of possible secondary liability will be what due diligence checks were performed, including the frequency and relevance of the checks made, the extent of the checks, what the results of the checks indicated and whether any deficiencies with the primarily liable person’s compliance were corrected in a timely manner.”

“The factors which will be taken into account in considering whether due diligence carried out is sufficient in cases of possible joint and several liability will be what due diligence checks were performed, the frequency and relevance of the checks made, the business records in writing (including in electronic form) kept of those checks, the extent of the checks, what the results of the checks indicated and whether any appropriate action was taken in response to the results of the checks.”


Here is a link to the best guidance we have seen from HMRC (that we could not find on the .gov website) PPT FAQ Update March 2022

If you do not make or import plastic packaging, you will already be seeing prices rise for plastic packaging that you buy tangled up with the hike in oil prices!

If you make or import more than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging per year you will have to:

  • Register with HMRC.
  • Measure the amount of plastic packaging that you make or import.
    • NB: HMRC require accurate figures and there is no test of ‘reasonableness’ as we have with DEFRA’s producer responsibility for packaging.
    • Every piece of plastic packaging will need to be accounted for either on a mass balance approach or by sample weighing every component!
  • Additionally, companies making or importing plastic packaging will have to identify whether each component contains 30% recycled content
    • For clarity, a pop bottle is made up of three components – the bottle, the lid and the label. Each will need to be weighed and identify the recycled content.
  • There are a couple of exemptions that still count towards the 10t threshold:
    • Plastic packaging that is in direct contact with human medicines will be exempt
    • Thin plastic films used to protect products from scratches will be exempt
    • Silage film will be exempt
  • Packaging that is exempt and does not count towards the 10t threshold
    • Tertiary plastic packaging around multiple imported products will be exempt if there are several units inside the tertiary packaging
    • Packaging consumed on international journeys, unless they are subsequently imported.
  • Other packaging that is excluded:
    • Plastic packaging used for long term storage – drill cases, games boxes, CD / DVD cases, lunchboxes

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 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
  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.


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.


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.


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.

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:

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!

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