Plastic trade association calls for PRN reform

The British Plastics Federation Recycling Group (BPFRG) is calling for reform of the Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) system, with a split plastic packaging target for UK-based recycling and export.

PRN reform is just one recommendation set out by the BPFRG in its ‘Proposal for Growth of the UK Plastics Recycling Sector in a Circular Economy’ document. The strategy, which aims to encourage the development of the UK plastic recycling industry and keep valuable plastic material in the UK so that it can be used in the manufacturing sector, makes four recommendations:

  • Spit plastic recycling targets between UK-based recycling and exporting, increasing over time. In its 2014 manifesto, the BPFRG proposed that recycling targets should be split between plastic packaging waste remaining in the UK and Europe, and that going elsewhere. Following the UK vote to leave the EU, the BPFRG now believes the split should be between waste staying and leaving the UK. It says this would ensure a higher percentage of the obligated companies evidence would have to come from PRNs rather than PERNs, which would retain resources in the UK, ensure better environmental outcomes and create UK jobs.

  • Create an investment fund to develop new technology. The BPFRG says that innovation and the development of new technology is key to overcoming barriers that prevent the viable recycling of certain materials, and is needed to establish new markets for recycled material that allow the industry to grow. The BPFRG believes an investment fund would provide this, allowing new technologies to become commercially viable and increasing recycling rates for plastics, particularly the development of pots, tubs and trays recycling.

  • Develop standards for all grades of plastic feedstock for the UK or Export. The The BPFRG is calling for standards for all plastic grades, with UK reprocessors and exporters taking only acceptable material.

  • Introduce recycled content procurement for all public bodies and large corporate companies. The BPFRG says that including secondary materials in the procurement process would provide stable end markets and boost confidence in the sector. It would also provide an opportunity to widen the range of products with recycled content, which it says could allow the public to see the circular flow of plastics and value of the material, motivating them to recycle.

Commenting on the recommendations, Chairman of the Recycling Group, Roger Baynham, says: “The strategy’s aim is to increase recycling activity in the UK and has been produced in consultation with senior figures in industry. By focusing on keeping a valuable waste stream in the UK, refining the feedstock available to recyclers and encouraging the move towards a commercial environment that produces plastic products that are easier to recycle in the first place, the UK plastics recycling sector will get the tools it needs to help exceed its recycling targets and move towards a more sustainable future.”

The Recycling Group strategy is available on the BPF’s website.

Let us know your thoughts

Do you think reform of the PRN system would help to secure growth in the recycling industry, and achieve better outcomes for the environment? We'd like to know what you think about the recommendations in the BPFRG strategy, so do get in touch if you have something to say on this issue.

Trade PRNs with Clarity

Clarity has been buying and selling packaging recovery notes (PRNs) since our business started in 2002. We are now one of the largest and most experienced open market traders of PRNs. To talk to our team about buying or selling any grade of packaging recovery note (PRN), contact us on 0845 129 7177.

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