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High PRN Prices Remain As Mixed Results Are Reported In Q2 Data

The packaging recovery note (PRN) market continues to experience high prices as the latest packaging data from the Environment Agency reports mixed results across materials.

The provisional 2019 packaging data for Q2 was released on Monday 22 July on the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD), providing an insight into how much packaging waste has been recycled or exported between April and June, and enabling a comparison against the UK’s overall obligation.

The Q2 data reports that PRN production is relatively strong for paper, wood, glass and steel materials. Paper production is currently at 967,026 tonnes and proceeding comfortably towards its annual target. Although wary of a reduction in Chinese import licences for Q2 and Q3, the substantial progress that has been made in the first two quarters of the year provides reassurance that paper will meet its annual obligation.

Both total glass and steel are currently performing at an increase compared to the same period in 2018. Despite the difficulties faced by British Steel, the combined Q1 and Q2 data for steel looks strong, bolstered by the high production seen in Q1.

Wood has responded well to its increased target this year; the high PRN price delivering increased recycling rates as the system is designed to do, and there is little cause for concern over whether the wood target will be met this year.

Aluminium is currently falling short of where it should for 2019, however the Q2 data reports strong production, which suggests that aluminium is now responding to the historically high prices by increasing recycling. It is, however, important to continue paying close attention to the monthly figures for this material, and the Q3 data, as each is issued.

Despite a rise in production from Q1, plastic continues to be a cause for concern for the market. Circa 14,000 tonnes more plastic has been reprocessed in the UK in Q2 compared with last year, and the material moves towards its 2019 target, but this has not yet made up for the shortfall in exports.

Martin Trigg-Knight, Clarity Environmental Packaging Compliance Manager, commented on the situation: “The provisional data indicates that many materials remain on track to meet recycling targets, and the PRN system appears to be working to increase recycling rates in the face of substantially diminished export markets. Concerns remain, however, as to whether plastic exports will continue at the current levels needed to meet the year-end target.

“This year has been one of the most volatile we have experienced in the PRN market. Plastic PRN prices reached historic levels in mid-June, which is understandably leaving producers concerned about the rising costs of compliance. We are continuing to monitor the market and work hard alongside our PRN trading team to manage the cost of compliance as much as we can for our members.”

It is important to note that the interim data is provisional until the final data is published by the Environment Agency next month.

To talk to a member of our team about our Comply with Clarity packaging compliance scheme, get in touch on 0845 129 7177 or visit our website for more information.

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