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Packaging Compliance – Growing Pains for the UK Manufacturing Industry

By Andy Fay • Tuesday 30th June 2015

The Packaging Regulations and other red tape for large businesses can often be blamed for ‘stifling’ industry growth. However, when understood and managed effectively they can be less of a headache than you think. As the UK manufacturing sector enjoys a renaissance, here’s how to be prepared for the growth – and the inevitable resulting legal compliance.

The UK Manufacturing Sector

Made in the UK

UK manufacturing success is in the blood, and Brits have always found a way to manufacture goods that the rest of the world wants. After a small blip, the UK has returned to manufacturing might, but with great power comes great responsibility.

As your business grows, the number of regulations affecting you grows. However with the right help, getting to grips with them can be a lot easier than you might think.

The manufacturing sector has seen some unprecedented expansion over recent years, making the UK the 11th largest manufacturing nation in the world.  In addition, firms are now moving their operations back home. Key drivers such as increased reliability, improved lead times, and exceptional quality, are making the UK a better bet than overseas manufacturing.

The Fastest Growing Sectors In The Manufacturing Industry Manufacturing Stats

Who Is Responsible For Compliance?

As you grow, the chances are that you will reach new regulatory thresholds - and be required to comply with new regulations.

We often hear manufacturers say; “Red tape is a major barrier to growth, the time taken for our business to comply could be better spent helping the business grow”.

We have to agree! Having a dedicated person within the business for each set of regulations can mean hours of legal sprawling for some poor soul, and ultimately means the majority of someone’s time and skills are spent on compliance rather than dealing with the company’s core business activity.

Man With Help Head (2)

In our experience manufacturing businesses are often very prepared when it comes to regulations, as it can often be the difference between life and death - quite literally. But when the regulations do not fall with a specific job remit, complying can often fall through the cracks, and end up with the business facing a hefty bill for non-compliance.

Of course, the prime example of this is the Packaging Regulations, which are just the type of prickly regulations most manufactures fail to notice. The Regulations refer to ‘packaging handled’, an ambiguous term at best, and most manufacturers do not have a specialist to deal with the variety of packaging this covers. They are very different to, for example, Health & Safety regulations – where most people have dedicated H&S Officer on-site.

Trying to allocate the Regulations to a specific department can also be tricky, unfortunately it is only when something goes wrong that everyone is pulled together to decipher the complicated ins and outs of the Packaging Regulations.

There is a simple cure. Get help, get the right help, get in the experts that will guide you through every step and break down how the Packaging Regulations affect your business…let’s get started!

The Packaging Regulations

There are three thresholds a business must meet if they need to comply with the Packaging Regulations:

  • Be a UK registered business
  • Turnover more than £2million a year
  • And handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging

Whilst the first two are easy enough to get information on, the third can be very tricky to assess.

The difficulty can often be in the wording, how much packaging do you ‘HANDLE’? I once asked this to a perspective client, who responded with; “None, we import our goods on pallets and then use a fork lift to move the goods, no one ever manually handles it!”

This simple misunderstanding may have cost his business tens of thousands of pounds if he were doing this alone.  When I pointed out that the Packaging Regulations looks at the packaging a business introduces into the UK, we quickly rectified the misunderstanding and were well on our way to making his business compliant.

Red Tape2 (2)

The key message here is don’t assume you are not affected – find out for sure.

The Packaging Regulations require companies to assess the packaging they handle each year by material and activity. With most manufacturing being a complicated operation, this can mean looking at a lot of different areas of the business.

Manufacturers often say they feel the Packaging Regulations can be confusing and hard to figure out, leaving many scratching their heads and asking themselves if the headache is worth it.  The problem is you have no choice; the Regulations are a legal requirement for those who are obligated.

The good news is with the right guidance from Kite, we can make compliance with the Packaging Regulations a quick and easy process, which costs less than you might think.

For a confidential chat, please contact one of our friendly and knowledgeable team members to help future-proof your business.

Enjoy the growth, but don’t endure the growing pains!

Contact us on 02476 420080 or visit us at

Andy Fay

Andy Fay

30th June • 2015