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2017 PRN Revenue - where it's been invested & how it's improved UK recycling

6th August 2018

Ash Clay

We recently reported on the investment of PRN revenue in the UK for 2017 and highlighted key areas where UK obligated producers’ money had been spent, to help improve recycling in the UK (original story can be found HERE)

In addition, we would also like to share some of the information provided by our suppliers regarding their PRN revenue investments, across the different materials that they handle.

Results from recent supplier contact was analysed to see how and where revenue generated from Comply Direct’s members compliance costs have been reinvested into the PRN system, and to see how this fits with the wider trends of the UK in general.

The data released by the Environment Agency showed investment areas for UK re-processors and exporters in 2017 were concentrated largely into three main areas; infrastructure and capacity, funding collection and reduction in price/developing new markets. When looking at our own supplier’s investments for 2017, this was no different (see figure 1 below).

Figure 1: How 2017 PRN revenue was reinvested by suppliers used by Comply Direct

Results from our analysis show that Comply Direct PRN suppliers fit the trend of the wider UK industry, with investments into infrastructure being the most common revenue channel. More specifically, investments in new technologies and equipment were cited by our suppliers as being the driving force behind infrastructure development.

One of our key steel suppliers highlighted how PRN revenue was specifically invested into new technologies in their downstream separation plants, and a key wood supplier utilised PRN revenue in order to improve electrical supply in preparation for a potential future expansion.

This type of investment is allowing re-processors and exporters to improve on amounts of packaging waste recycled and therefore, improve overall recycling levels.

Again, similar to the wider UK industry, funding collection and reduction in price/developing new markets were also the next most popular investment channels and this was confirmed as a main priority of one of our export partners who reinvest with the primary aim of funding collections which will ultimately boost recycling amounts.


Other areas of revenue spend included the development of communication strategies and also investment to cover cost of complying with the current regulations. Communication was also a key area highlighted for Comply Direct’s suppliers as a potential development area moving forwards into 2018, 2019 and beyond. With the current system under consultation, effective communication between key stakeholders will be vital in helping to produce a new system or to improve the current system we have in place to benefit all parties, the quality and quantity of UK recycling and therefore, the wider environment in the near future.

Comply Direct remain a key influence upon current consultations regarding the packaging regulations and UK PRN system and will continue to represent our members and to protect their best interests.


At Comply Direct we place high value on quality supplier relationships and it’s encouraging to see where and how the money generated through the PRNs we have procured on behalf of our members is being reinvested to the benefit of recycling quality and capacity in the UK. 

We also take pride in striking a good balance between procurement of both UK PRNs generated by accredited reprocessors as well as Export PRNs generated by accredited UK exporters of packaging waste. In 2017, using plastic as an example, Comply Direct ensured that over half of the plastic PRNs we purchased were UK generated to help support the improvement of plastic recycling capabilities here in the UK, while also ensuring delivery of the best PRN prices for our members.

If you have any questions regarding PRNs, procurement or expenditure, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our packaging team on 01756 794 951 / packaging@complydirect.com or directly with your Account Manager.