The Environment Agency has confirmed that the proportion of mixed papers that can be counted as packaging recycling has significantly increased.
Under changes to the Packaging Waste Regulations, 23% of the material – which includes cardboard and cereal boxes – will now be counted as packaging as opposed to the former level of 12.5%.
Mixed papers are mainly sourced from the household waste stream, where the amount of cardboard is rising as consumers take home delivery of products, including electrical items, although commercial waste streams are also important sources.
It is thought that the change will boost the number of PRNs generated for the year. Until now, paper mills could issue just one PRN for every eight tonnes of mixed paper material handled.
As cardboard manufacturers are using high volumes of mixed papers in their mix, the announcement will also be welcomed by the mills which can now utilise up to 30-40% of the material for cardboard production.
Phil Conran, chair of the Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP), said: “I’m delighted that the EA has agreed to the interim position of 23% on the basis of some MRF sampling data submitted to them by the ACP.”
“This should add around 120,000 tonnes of additional evidence for 2016, effectively increasing UK recycling performance by 1%,” he added.