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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

Consumer Information

Consumer Information Obligation

Want to recycle more, or help someone benefit from your waste?

Great. Your waste may actually have some value, so we’ve complied some information that could help you recycle more of it, and perhaps even help someone else benefit . If you can’t see the information you’re looking for, please just drop us a line.

For businesses

We’ve a database of companies – many in the North West and Yorkshire – who can help take your waste for recycling. Using these companies can help reduce the amount of landfill and any associated costs. Drop us a line to see if we have someone who can help you.

If you think your waste products might be useful to someone else, you can try offering it on Freecycle

You can also try the following link to find a waste recycler:

The Environment Agency has a register of all licensed waste contractors.

Don’t forget; waste contractors must be either licensed by, or hold an exemption from, the Environment Agency, and they must have a waste carrier/broker/dealer licence. The site your waste is going to must have a licence or exemption too, and you’ll need to make sure you keep a written record of any waste that’s taken away.

For domestic

For domestic waste see to find your closest recycling site, or contact the recycling officer at your local council. You can also check the link at the bottom of the page to see an explanation of the most common recycling symbols.

I recently received an email from a Amanda and Meghan who have been learning about reduce, reuse and recycle with They sent us this link which has lots really cool links to other resources about Reduce, reuse and Recycle. Thank you ladies.  


Confused by recycling symbols?

We have prepared a page with some of the most common recycling symbols and what they mean. Click the button below to view them.

Click here to view them Get in touch

Do you recycle waste packaging

Do you recycle waste packaging?

If so, it could earn your business money.

If you’re a business that recycles waste packaging, you might be eligible to register as a ‘reprocessor’. Reprocessors can earn income for every single tonne of waste packaging they recycle, so it could potentially be a great source of additional income for your business.

To find out whether you’re eligible, how much you could earn, and what you need to do, please just get in touch.

Get in touch

Our schemes

Pennine Pack / Pennine Pack - Northern Ireland

Packaging compliance made easy

Here to help businesses understand and comply with packaging legislation, Pennine-Pack was one of the UK’s very first packaging compliance schemes back in 1998. Today, we’re the chosen partner for more than 100 different businesses all over the UK, including Northern Ireland.

From small firms which only just exceed the threshold for compliance through to big brands you’ve definitely heard of, our mission is always the same: to make compliance easy. For some clients that means telephone support whenever they need information or advice. For others, it means a having a team they can count on to take away their sales figures and do the rest for them. For us, it’s all part of the Pennine-Pack service.

Thanks for helping me organize my data and complete my return on time.
Sovereign Partners Ltd
I only look at the declaration when its due and generally (always!) need help in its completion. I find that the advice and guidance I receive from Pennine - Pack in completing the declaration is invaluable. John was fantastic though the entire process and the journey of Kingfisher Lighting in becoming legally compliant. Communication was always open and two way and the level and content of response was easy to understand and make sense of what can sometime appear to be a data nightmare!!
Ian LloydKingfisher Lighting

Scheme Information

Registration Numbers

[Pennine Pack]

[Northern Ireland]

Ethical Compliance

Go even greener

When it comes to making your environmental credentials even greener, Ethical Compliance is the scheme that can help. It safeguards UK workers and businesses too – one more reason for you to feel good.

The only scheme of its kind in the UK, Ethical Compliance sources Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) only from the UK recycling industry. This means that the recycling of your share of waste packaging is done right here in the UK, and that means a smaller carbon footprint. If you have ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 this shows active involvement with your supply chain. It also makes sure that the people who actually carry out the recycling are UK employees, properly protected by UK employment rights. In short, it’s good for the planet, good for your conscience, and good for your commercial reputation too.

When you choose the Ethical Compliance scheme, you’re playing an important part in:

  • Reducing the amount of packaging shipped overseas for recycling, which in turn reduces fuel costs and carbon emissions.
  • Promoting UK recycling and safeguarding UK jobs
  • Helping to protect the environment
  • Minimising your scope 3 carbon emissions
  • Contributing to the overall stability of the cost of PRNs.

Scheme Information

Registration Number


What do we offer

What do we offer? - Your environmental compliance partner

Whatever the sector or size of your business, we’ve got the expertise to help you understand packaging compliance, then achieve it.

Our compliance schemes are managed by John Mooney and smoothly administered by our friendly support team. John has more than 20 years’ experience of environmental regulations, and he’s worked with producers as well as reprocessors. In other words, what John doesn’t know about packaging compliance, isn’t worth knowing.

From keeping you legal to saving you time and money, the help we offer will help your business thrive.

  • We clear up confusion and save you time by helping you complete your annual packaging returns.
  • We submit your returns to the Environment Agency for you – one less thing for you to think about.
  • We buy Packaging Recovery Notes on your behalf, or you can choose to buy them yourself by prior arrangement.
  • We give you real peace of mind by taking full responsibility for ensuring your business always complies with the packaging regulations.
  • We provide support if the Environment Agency decides to audit your packaging compliance.
  • We invite you to our free annual training course on how to complete your packaging return.
  • We offer training and networking opportunities relating to your environmental activities.
  • We also offer ‘First Hour Free’ consultancy if you have questions about almost any environmental issue, from asbestos disposal to X-ray radiation handling.
Check out our schemes Get in touch

What is packaging compliance

What is packaging compliance?

Packaging Compliance is a set of regulations that aims to reduce the amount of packaging waste going to UK landfill. It encourages companies to use less packaging in the first place, and to recycle more of the packaging that passes through their business.

Companies which own or handle packaging need to be registered, and they must contribute towards the cost of recycling their share. They do this by buying recycling certificates called PRNs, or Packaging Recovery Notes, to show that their fair share of any packaging owned or handled has been recycled. This is something we help you with.

How Does packaging compliance affect your business?

Your business achieves packaging compliance when it meets the requirements of The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations. You’ll need to take action if you meet these two criteria:

  • Turnover of £2m per year
  • Own or 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

At The GBN, we can help your business to meet its legal obligations through our packaging compliance schemes: Pennine-Pack, Ethical Compliance and Pennine-Pack Northern Ireland.

What do we offer? Get in touch


To help understanding, we have produced a set of videos focussed solely on packaging compliance.

Watch Videos

What is IIE

Investors in the Environment

Under our previous name of Pennine-Pack, The GBN was the first business in Yorkshire to be accredited to the Investors in the Environment standard in Yorkshire / the North of England in 2012.

We liked the holistic approach so much that we took over the license in 2016. In 2017/18, investors members in our region saved over 5000T of Carbon Dioxide by their environmental and resource saving initiatives. That’s equivalent to over 435 double decker buses or 33 blue whales!

We returned the license to PECT in 2019 to allow us to focus on Packaging Compliance but we are still registered to the standard.

IIE, as it is known, is a brilliant standard for businesses of all sizes to verify your commitment to continuous improvement and reducing environmental impact. The system counts your carbon footprint which is a powerful tool to identify where your biggest opportunities are.

For more details about IIE, either contact us by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or take a look at the IIE website.

Pennine-Pack is 20!

When the Pennine-Pack packaging compliance scheme was set up in 2008 by The Calderdale and Kirklees Green Business Network it had only 10 members. We now number over 100 members split between the original Pennine-Pack scheme, an offshoot that operates in Northern Ireland and Ethical Compliance. Ethical Compliance was launched in 2014 giving members the option to choose to buy UK only PRNs.

It is wonderful that 2 of the original members are still with us and almost half of our members have been with us in excess of 10 years.

We left the umbrella of the council’s support nine years ago but staying true to our roots, we continue to offer free environmental advice to businesses in West Yorkshire and across the UK, offering members a wide range of environmental services as well as the specialist services relating to Packaging Waste.

In September 2016, we took over the operation of Investors in the Environment in Yorkshire. This is an entry level environmental accreditation that focusses on a business's environmental performance ahead of the formal procedures required by other environmental management systems.

To celebrate our twenty years, we have invited our members to join us for a presentation in Leeds on 20th June when we will have Pennine-Pack’s founder, Graham Wiles and environmental expert and acclaimed author Tony Juniper to address the group.

If you would like to attend, please get in touch with us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Government to review the use and impact of single-use plastics and packaging waste

Westminster 12 March 2018


The Government wants to make big changes to consumer behaviour to reduce the impact of single use plastics, increase recycling of reusable materials and that the packaging industry will have to pay for this. It is likely that the cost of ‘packaging compliance’ will increase by a factor of five to ten times its current level over the next two to five years to meet changes in both British Governmental policy and new EU directives.

On Tuesday 13th March, in his Spring Statement, Philip Hammond announced that the British Government will consult on how the tax system can be used to change consumers’ behaviour and the use of plastic. This follows a lot of press coverage of European proposals for a ‘Circular Economy’, single-use plastics, coffee cup tax and plastics finding their way into water-courses and oceans. The UK currently holds the world record for a water-course with micro-plastics contamination.

The Secretary of State has asked WRAP (a resource efficiency charity), INCPEN (voice of the packaging supply chain) and the ACP (Advisory Committee on Packaging) to engage with stakeholders to identify options to improve the UK’s environmental performance. This is being done via a set of workshops that with trade and industry groups covering the whole supply chain.

In the UK, our producer responsibility legislation for packaging waste was designed to increase recycling of packaging in line with EU targets with the lowest nett cost to business and has done this very well over the last 20 years. The UK will have to comply with the EU’s new Circular Economy Package that comes into force before we leave the EU and during the transition that will follow. One of its principles is that producers (businesses using packaging) will have to subsidise not only the recycling of packaging waste as they currently do, but also its collection and sorting.

In other European countries which have already taken this approach their cost of compliance is typically £100/t, compared to the UK’s £20/t to subsidise recycling only. We expect to see these costs passed onto businesses handling packaging in the UK in the next 2-5 years.

There is no suggestion that the UK will go as far as France who are to ban all single-use plastics from 2020, unless they are made from compostable bio-sourced materials. Current thinking on a paper published in March 2018 suggested that the Government wants to give Industry time to develop innovative solutions before they consider a direct charge on coffee cups and plastic bottles.

The review looks at six main principles:

Everyone playing their part.

  • Currently, packaging regs apply only to businesses that turn over more than £2m and handle over 50t of packaging. This will be questioned, although it is recognised that widening the net to include a lot of smaller businesses would not catch much extra packaging. It recognises that a lot of on-line sellers are excluded from the regulations because they fall below the threshold. It also recognised that the current regulators do not effectively police free-riders and this should be addressed with more vigour than chasing smaller businesses.

The system should reward recyclability

  • It is clear that packaging is important to industry and in particular the food industry where some ‘difficult to recycle’ packaging may offer almost infinite shelf life, so we must accept that difficult to recycle plastics have their place in society.
  • Our current system of PRNs does not distinguish between single material packaging that is easy to recycle and complex multi material packaging that can not be recycled.
  • It is not clear how this proposal could be implemented but it was suggested that any material that is not readily recyclable in the UK could be subject to an additional per tonne levy for ‘difficult to recycle’ materials. This could fund innovation in recycling or new recycling facilities as appropriate.
  • Deposit return systems have been shown to improve return rates (and therefore recycling rates) and should not be ignored, although there are none currently running across the UK.

The system should reward recycled content

  • When a business buys packaging with recycled content they are supporting the use of recyclates, helping to reduce the amount of waste material that is not recycled. They are also stimulating demand for recyclate materials thereby reducing the cost of PRNs (that subsidise the cost of recycling).
  • Creating demand for recycled content will stimulate demand for recyclate and help to make the system more effective. Our current PRN system rewards demand for recycled content by reducing the cost of PRNs when more material is being recycled.
  • It would be nice if the recycled content of packaging were made VAT free (in line with having zero VAT on second hand goods) but we do not expect the Government to want to do this.

Local Authorities and businesses should work towards a standard base for recycling systems

  • A common baseline for material recycled, where all authorities recycle a minimum number of material streams separately, would make nationwide education campaigns much more effective – all businesses, households and street bins having the same number of divisions for different recyclates.
  • The On Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) is a scheme that indicates how likely it is that packaging is recycled in any given area. As there are over 300 local authority recycling groups in the UK, there are nearly as many different sets of arrangements. As much as the labels are a good idea, until we have the same recycling arrangements across the UK, the label will continue to be ineffective.

The proceeds of a new Producer Responsibility fund should be distributed by an independent cross sectoral body.

In our discussions we identified that in addition to the PRN, that subsidises the cost of recycling, we would need:

  • a similar market-driven mechanism for collecting and sorting waste packaging (perhaps a CSN – Collection and Sort Note) that subsidises the cost of collection and sorting of waste packaging,
  • a communication fund to promote recycling and
  • a fund to promote recycling of the difficult to recycle materials mentioned above.

These latter two funds would need to be managed by an independent body made up of stakeholders from all affected sectors.

All recyclers of waste packaging should be required to be part of the system in order to capture more accurate data about recycling. Exporters of packaging materials should not be able to enjoy the advantages they now have over UK recyclers in the current system

  • It is agreed that the current inequalities are created because the regulations are not enforced as rigorously on exporters as UK recyclers.
  • There is resentment from some producers that when the price of a PRN increases, the extra revenue is not directed towards increasing capacity directly, it is an inducement for recyclers to recycle more and for additional recyclers to join in with the system. (But I will restate that it is this flaw that has helped give the UK the cheapest cost of compliance in Europe.)
  • It is possible that there could be a limit on PRN prices so that recyclers cannot exploit the market when there is a shortage of supply. If the price were to hit the limit, producers (and their schemes) could contribute to a capacity building fund rather than paying too much for a PRN. This has been seen to be effective for waste electricals in the UK.
  • There is general agreement that we should endeavour to promote a better standard of collection and sorting in the UK as well as encouraging recycling in the UK.

Please be aware that this summary reflects my personal impressions of the review organised for Packaging Compliance Schemes, our current research and that the Government may choose to follow up on none, some or all of these themes.

JM 16/3/18

Investors in the Environment’s Becky Taylor is recognised for her contribution to sustainability at the inaugural Inspiring Women Changemakers ‘Igniting Inspiration’ Awards.

Investors in the Environment’s Becky Taylor is recognised for her contribution to sustainability at the inaugural Inspiring Women Changemakers ‘Igniting Inspiration’ Awards.

At the Inspiring Women Changemakers ‘Igniting Inspiration’ Awards in Bradford last week, Becky Taylor, who runs ‘Investors in the Environment’ in Yorkshire & the Humber, was presented with an Award for the Sustainability Savvy Organisation. The judges noted Becky's passion for sustainability and her ability to make a meaningful impact through her work. She was nominated for the award by iiE member Michelle Marks of Coral Mountain.

In September 2016, after over 20 years’ experience in industry, Becky gave up a full-time career to take over and develop the Yorkshire & Humber region of Investors in the Environment, alongside John Mooney from Pennine-Pack, the Packaging compliance organisation based in Hebden Bridge. Both organisations are part of the Green Business Network.

Investors in the Environment (iiE) is an established, national environmental accreditation and membership scheme designed to help small and medium-sized businesses save money, reduce their environmental impact and be formally recognised for their green achievements. “It’s all about ‘doing’ the right thing; taking action to achieve environmental goals, and receiving recognition and support” said Becky, “in the 12 months since we’ve been running the scheme, active membership has increased by over 50% mainly due to us having a personal approach and taking time to get to know our members’ businesses and how we can best help”

Investors in the Environment works with over thirty businesses in the Yorkshire & Humber region with a plan to continue to grow and develop the network. It encourages developing environmental initiatives and improving resource efficiency whilst helping to save money. The programme organises a series of fun and varied events which are free for members and include site tours, members coaching and networking events and our very special annual Awards Ceremony.

Investors in the Environment (iiE) is an established, environmental accreditation and membership scheme. The scheme is designed to help businesses of all sizes to save money, reduce their impact on the environment and get formally recognised for their green credentials. Your business will implement a simple Environmental Management System (EMS) to get accredited.

Inspiring Women Changemakers is a dynamic movement of women leading transformational change – in work, in society, and in the world.

Inspiring Women

Pennine-Pack Win Green Apple Award for Environmental Best Practice

Pennine-Pack were presented with a Green Apple Award in recognition of their Environmental Best Practice earlier today at the Houses of Parliament in London. The Yorkshire based micro-business helps companies to comply with packaging regulations* whilst actively supporting the UK recycling industry.

In 2010, Pennine-Pack committed to encouraging their customers to take a more holistic approach to recycling at a time when increasing amounts of waste were being shipped overseas for recycling. Accordingly, customers were invited to sign up to Pennine-Pack’s Ethical Compliance scheme which is committed to buying all its recycling certificates from UK recyclers. The industry ‘norm’ is to ship packaging waste to China where it is sorted and recycled in factories where employees are often only earning a basic minimum wage of the equivalent of £7.50 per day! Additionally, the 18,000km of transportation needed to ship the waste from the UK to China, also leads to an increased carbon footprint of almost 300kg CO2e of emissions per tonne.

John Mooney, Director commented “We decided to see if this commitment would help to promote UK recyclers, reduce the impact of our operations and encourage our customers to think about their environmental impact in a more holistic manner.” He continued, “We’ve increased our overall use of UK recycling certificates purchased, and are now buying almost three times as many as we were in 2010. During the first part of 2017, customers who have asked us to buy their recycling certificates from UK recyclers, now represent about 25% of our turnover”

Pennine-Pack works with businesses across many different sectors helping them to work beyond legal compliance, reduce their carbon impact for waste and recycling, and continues to be committed to increasing the proportion of their own business which supports the UK recycling industry. Commenting on the award, John said “we’re thrilled to be recognized in an area where small businesses can often be overlooked. Collectively SME’s can make a huge difference to our economy and supporting UK business is essential for the future”

About Pennine Pack

Pennine Pack has been operating packaging compliance schemes since 1997. As part of its portfolio under brand, it also operates an environmental consultancy and the environmental accreditation scheme “Investors in the Environment” in Yorkshire & the Humber.

One of the three packaging compliance schemes offered by Pennine- Pack, is ‘Ethical Compliance’ which is committed to providing more responsible packaging compliance to its members by sourcing all PRNs (Recycling certificates, or “packaging recovery notes”) from UK recyclers. This promotes UK recycling and ensures that those employed in the industry, enjoy satisfactory standards of employment. It also minimises the carbon footprint of the recycled waste as it doesn’t need to be transported long distances to be recycled. This initiative was recognised in 2016 when Pennine Pack were runners up in the Guardian Sustainable Business Awards behind SAB Miller (multinational brewer) and ahead of IKEA (Swedish furniture company) in the Supply Chain category.

*The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 (as amended), commonly known as ‘the packaging regs’ apply to all businesses that turn over more than £2million and handle over 50 tonnes of obligated packaging.

For more information, please contact the office on 01422 417 371 or visit our websites:

The Green Apple Environment Awards were established in 1994 as an annual campaign to recognise, reward and promote environmental best practice around the world. It was one of the first to be accredited by the RSA as an official feeder into the European Business Awards for the Environment, and is still one of only a handful of accredited campaigns.

Investors in the Environment (iiE) is an established, environmental accreditation and membership scheme. The scheme is designed to help businesses of all sizes to save money, reduce their impact on the environment and get formally recognised for their green credentials. Your business will implement a simple Environmental Management System (EMS) to get accredited.

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