Packaging note market ‘cools a little’

Posted on 17th July, 2019

Feverish activity in the PRN – packaging waste recovery note – market during May and June appeared to have calmed a little at the start of July.

With huge pressure on the plastics recycling sector in particular to avoid the export of plastics for recycling where there may be questionable outlets, the price of plastic PRNs had soared. This was due to several factors including a rise in targets, the belief that material might have to be burnt rather than recycled, less was about for recycling and that some of the export material might not qualify for PRNs.

All this had big implications for retailers and other businesses needing to comply with the PRN legislation.

And in a semi-official move to calm the markets and to propose legislative changes the government’s Advisory Committee on Packaging convened an emergency meeting, where it agreed to raise the issue of whether there should be some sort of Compliance Fees system for packaging. A form of this operates in the WEEE – waste electrical and electronic recycling sector, although there are strong opinions as to its merits or not.

Now the idea is that some form of mechanism might be brought in to the packaging in 2020 which could mean that if PRNs were in short supply or “excessively expensive” a fee option might be an alternative option for a certain volume of PRNs.