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2015 Q4 packaging figures show hope for plastic PRN prices in 2016

Figures released by the Environment Agency today show improved recycling figures for plastic PRNs in quarter four of 2015, with a 23% increase in recycling compared to the average recycling rate for quarters one to three in 2015.

This leaves a 35,245 tonne surplus that can be carried over to 2016, as PRNs that are issued in December are allowed to be used for the following years compliance. This should help to depressurise the current plastic PRN market and will reduce costs for producers over the course of 2016.

We have recently witnessed large amounts of pressure and high prices in the plastic PRN markets, caused largely by the fall in global oil prices. This led to virgin plastic being more competitively priced than recycled plastic. This culminated with plastic PRNs reaching a price high of £75 in the last quarter of 2015.

A more sustainable rate

Expectations within the plastic PRN market were that all of the 2015 carry over of PRNs would be needed to meet 2015 compliance, resulting in a difficult starting position for 2016. The figures released today demonstrate that the plastic PRN market is in better health that previously thought, hopefully leading to a reduction in price to a more sustainable level for producers.

It is also expected that plastic prices could fall further in 2016 with the upcoming result of the consultation that is considering a lower plastic recycling target, potentially reducing the demand for plastic into the second quarter of 2016.


Richard Hodges

Key account manager

As key account manager Richard helps our largest clients manage their legal obligations under Packaging, WEEE and Batteries legislation. His background in economics helps our members manage their budgets and strategically procure evidence.


Written by Richard Hodges Published 11/02/2016 Topics Compliance

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