With the release of the 2015 packaging public register, we now also have visibility on the initial UK 2015 packaging obligation across the various reported materials.
This is likely to increase slightly over the course of the year, due to late and new producer registrations, but it does give us a good indication on what recycling the UK needs to achieve.
On the whole, there has been very little change in the overall obligation for each material apart from plastic, which has seen an increase largely driven by the increased plastic recycling target (up 5% to 47% in 2015). Looking at these figures in relation to the previously released 2015 Q1 packaging recycling figures (see story here) and netting off the carry over PRNs from 2014 provides an indication of the overall PRN demand for the year.
Reviewing this, it seems most materials are on track for a problem-free year with the exception of aluminium which seems to have hit by the removal of the scrap metal protocols that came into force for 2015. This protocol has been replaced with the new Incinerator Bottom Ash protocol however not many of those businesses that this could apply to have been accredited, leading to this potential annual shortfall of around 8k tonnes. Also, plastic is expected to pick over the course of the year as it has done in previous years along with Efw, the shortfall of which was explained in a previous article (see story here).
The PRN market is a self-correcting market, with prices changing to encourage increase in recycling when figures are low. We have seen this happen with glass and plastic over the last 18 month and it would seem that aluminium will also correct itself over the coming months (probably in a less dramatic way, cost-wise, than glass and plastic).
James Piper, commercial director at ecosurety commented "the overall picture for 2015 is positive, the UK obligation is roughly on track with the Q1 recycling figures. This is good news for producers as the volatile prices we have seen over the last 2 years seem to been reaching an equilibrium - balancing recycling incentivisation against viable PRN rates."
ecosurety was set up in 2003 (originally as Budget Pack) and specialises in sustainable business practice, driving efficiencies at every level for its 1,000-plus UK member companies.
Its market-leading integrated services span sustainable strategy, waste, compliance and intelligent reporting. In 2014 the company received the Institute of Directors' Corporate Responsibility Award for the South West.
By shaping and supporting best practice in waste and recycling ecosurety is driving greater efficiency in the resource cycle and reducing demand for raw materials. By 2020 ecosurety is targeting influence over 1 million tonnes of waste.
Innovation and policy director
Robbie is innovation and policy director at Ecosurety. Having spent years building an intimate understanding of the industry’s policies and politics, he uses this knowledge to help shape new legislation and oversees Ecosurety’s growing portfolio of cross-industry innovation projects including Podback and the Flexible Plastic Fund. He has worked closely with Defra during the most recent packaging consultations, outlining the impacts and required transitional arrangements of the UK’s new EPR system and is a member of the government’s Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP). He is also a spokesperson for the company and regularly uses his influence to communicate the importance of environmental responsibility to external stakeholders.
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