The head of a UK plastics recycling organisation has said the “‘the unnecessary annual game of plastic PRN poker between the sellers and buyers will commence” now that packaging recycling data for the third quarter of 2015 has been published.
Stuart Foster of RECOUP made the comments upon the release of provisional data that shows that 197,249 tonnes of plastics packaging were recycled in Q3.
That equates to 61 percent or 120,664 tonnes being exported, whilst around 39 percent or 76,585 tonnes stayed in the UK for recycling. It is acknowledged that there are several plastic reprocessors and exporters still to report their quarterly data, so these figures will be revised up.
“As anticipated, the provisional Q3 data shows reported plastic packaging recycling tonnage was down when compared to the previous quarter. It will cast some doubt over the achievability of the 2015 target and almost certainly lead to speculation on further plastic PRN increases to the end of the year,” commented Foster.
“The fact that significant PRN tonnage from 2014 year was carried over to 2015 will provide a cushion, but it is almost certain that cushion will not be there for 2016 as plastic packaging recycling targets increase by another five percent. For the benefit of everyone, we need to see some changes to the way the current system works.”
The summary of responses to the DEFRA consultation on aspects of packaging waste regulations was published recently, including views on targets and potential PRN value impacts.
The full RECOUP response (available here) outlined a number of points, including approaches to mitigate artificial short term PRN price volatility; exceptions for larger traders and reprocessors relating to PRNs in specific business circumstances; and more transparency for PRN funding.
Amongst the recommendations that RECOUP believe merit more detailed consideration and further feasibility assessment were producer responsibility; a mechanism to restrict PRN price volatility; an auditable trail for exported materials; and a review of the current approved categories for PRN spending.