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Environment Agency clips Red Bull's wings

Soft drinks firm Red Bull has been fined £261,278 for packaging waste offences.

The London based firm pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court 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 for eight years between 1999 and 2006.

Alongside its fine, the Red Bull Company was ordered to pay £3755 in costs to the Environment Agency and pay compensation of £6854.

This overtakes the previous highest fine of £225,000 which was imposed in January 2008 on a Midlands company that also failed to register as a producer of packaging.

Under the Producer Responsibility Obligations Regulations 2007, businesses who have an annual turnover in excess of a £2 million and handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging each year, must be registered with the EA or a compliance scheme.

Red Bull approached the EA in July 2007 to say that it was not registered with the EA or a compliance scheme. The company cooperated with the EA and attended an interview under caution on 12 March 2008, admitting that its turnover and packaging handled was more than the threshold limits allowed by the regulations. By not registering it was estimated that Red Bull made a saving of more than £180,000.

EA environment officer Helen Pavlou said: The regulations are in place to encourage a reduction in the amount of packaging used by business and to decrease the amount of waste that is sent to landfill.

While it is encouraging that the Red Bull Company came to use when they realised their mistake, it is disappointing that there are still companies that are not compliant with this important legislation more than a decade after it was passed.

Money raised from compliance is invested in the recycling industry, so failure to comply by the Red Bull Company and other companies means that there is less investment in the recycling industry than there should be.

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