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split prn target proposed by bpf

26th August 2014

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) last week (19 August) released an outline in their 2014 manifesto for a split PRN target which could radicalise the PRN system in the UK. The Recycling Group of the BPF suggested a proposal for the reform of the PRN system where different PRN targets would be established for plastic packaging recycled in the UK and that exported overseas.

According to the group, which includes plastics reprocessors Chase Plastics, Closed Loop Recycling, Eco Plastics and Axion Recycling, the PRN system is in ‘desperate need of change’. Find out more about packaging compliance.

Split PRN target proposal

The PRN system is in place to assure that producers of packaging materials in the UK are responsible for funding the recycling of their products once it has reached the end of its life. Producers obligated under the Packaging Waste Regulations must ensure responsibility through the purchase of packaging recovery notes (PRNs) or PERNs, their export counterpart.

The policy proposal from the BPF suggests that the existing PRN system could be updated with a split PRN target to ensure that the UK is at the ‘forefront of technology’. The proposed new system of a split PRN target would include a gradually increasing domestic recycling target, which hopes to encourage investment in the UK reprocessing and recycling sector. BPF have also addressed European Commission proposals regarding rising recycling targets stating that the UK will need to be not dependent on exporting Plastics if they want to prevent the loss of economic opportunities

Exported waste

BPF are confident that their proposal of a split PRN target should increase the amount of material processed in the UK and that this is a step in the right direction with regards to improving domestic recycling rates. In the BPF’s opinion their proposal of a split PRN target would ensure the best possible environmental outcome for materials entering the UK waste stream and would increase opportunities for the creation of UK based ‘green jobs’, investment in infrastructure and offer greater protection from global market fluctuations.

While the BPF have credited the export sector for its contribution to the current Plastic recycling rates, the group maintain that more incentives need to be implemented in order to increase the rates of Plastic packaging recycling within the UK and to meet national recycling targets. The recycling group also claim that the UK is lacking in incentives to help increase the use of recycled plastic in new products. With this in mind, the group have called for an ‘offset’ principle to be rooted into the PRN system which will see manufacturers of plastic packaging products receive a lesser recycling obligation correspondent with the amount of recycled material they incorporate into new product designs. Chairman of the BPF’s Recycling Group, Roger Baynham, commented on the proposals:

“The proposals contained in this manifesto are designed not only to provide a route map to deliver the best environmental outcomes from plastic waste but also to create new low carbon manufacturing jobs in the vanguard of the circular economy.”

“The BPFRG believes the future proofing of markets for waste can only be achieved by ensuring that traction exists to encourage investment in recycling infrastructure and innovation to develop new markets and applications for recycled plastics.”

For more information about plastic recycling targets and PRN prices, please get in touch with our Packaging compliance team.

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