At the start of the month the Environment Agency (EA) announced to accredited packaging recyclers and exporters that they are encouraging waste packaging that is received for reprocessing to be reported monthly on the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD).
This step was taken by the EA as a result of work by Defra and the Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP) who identified that a lack of transparency on volumes of waste packaging recycled led to the challenging PRN market we saw in 2015.
This was also exacerbated by the fact that these figures are only reported quarterly and are often published weeks after the end of the quarter. The hope is that by reporting on figures monthly, the market will have a much clearer picture on UK recycling performance and thus reduce any knee-jerk reactions in the PRN market.
The new monthly reporting is only a trial and it is not being made mandatory for recyclers and exporters as this would require regulatory changes. The level of detail that will be published will not show a breakdown of UK and export data but simply a cumulative total month on month.
Due to the mandatory nature of the trial it will be interesting to see how many reprocessors opt to report more frequently, given concerns that they already have enough regulatory administration to manage.
"Demand for monthly recycling figures began to surface over 18 months ago following very volatile pricing in certain PRN materials. We believe that moving towards monthly reporting is a step in the right direction that will allow for better purchasing decisions for schemes and producers." commented Matthew Manning, sales manager at ecosurety.
"Current quarterly reporting acts as blindfold to market performance, with the potential that poor performance is not known for almost four months at a time. Monthly figures means trends can be identified earlier which will ultimately benefit producers who pay close attention to their costs under the packaging regulations."
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