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Data Release in Summary: 2017 UK Obligation Tables and Verified Q1 Recycling Data

15th May 2017

Melanie Harper

2017 UK Obligation Tables

The initial release of the UK 2017 packaging obligation tables has today, 15 May 2017, been published by the regulator. 

This data indicates the levels of packaging waste recycling the UK need to achieve in the 2017 compliance year in order to meet government set recycling targets. It is important to note that this data doesn't include any potential late or new registrants to the system which will impact the data as we move through 2017.

These initial figures allow us to make comparisons between the final count of 2016 registered producers and the number of registered producers by the 15 April 2017. The final 2016 register was made up of 7,008 Full Producers and 450 Small Producers, whilst the figures just released for 2017 confirm that there are currently 6,675 Full Producers and 412 Small Producers registered.

We can therefore conclude that a number of obligated producers have yet to register for 2017.

The below table outlines the UK PRN requirement for the amount of tonnages which need to be recycled for 2017 compared to the end of year 2016.

The PRN requirement is the total amount of recovery and recycling that is required by the UK in a given compliance (calendar) year. This is calculated using the UK Obligation Tables, which show the total amount of packaging handled by UK producers and under what activity. The obligated tonnages are then multiplied by the recycling targets for that particular year, and any additional tonnages relating to producers using the small producer method are added. As the 2017 PRN requirement has only just been released, these figures will most likely increase slightly throughout the year as any outstanding producers register with a compliance scheme or agency. It is worth being aware that this is the total requirement and there has been no tonnages removed due to 2017 Carry in PRNs.

Q1 Verified Packaging Recycling Data

The Environment Agency has also just released the Verified Q1 2017 Recycling Data, which doesn't look to show too much change from the last set of unverified data. It appears that Plastic remains the single material to pay careful consideration to given the reduction in the recycling levels originally reported in the initial set of unverified Q1 data as we reported here.

The graphs below indicate the recycling data with the carry-in from 2016 and without such carry-in, using the verified Q1 recycling data and 2017 obligation data to date.

Overall, at this 25% marker for the year, we can see a fairly positive picture in terms of recycling levels at the end of Q1. As mentioned, and as a cautionary note, there is still some uncertainty and potential PRN volatility regarding Plastic, with the recycling levels anticipated for Plastic in Q2 expected to be down on Q1 levels. This expectation that Plastic recycling levels may drop is due to a combination of higher container shipping costs (particularly in late March, April and early May) and also the impact of more stringent quality control in China under the banner 'Operation Sword’. We will also be keeping a close eye on Glass recycling levels as they are close to the minimum required levels for us to be on track for the year. The other materials look quite comfortable already for this stage of the year however experience tells us that in this market much can change and quite quickly too.

If you have any questions regarding the data, please contact our packaging team at packaging@complydirect.com