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Plastics Industry Recycling Plan Supports PRN & PERN Reform

A strategy for achieving the UK government target of 57% for plastic packaging recycling for obligated users by 2017 has been launched. The Plastics Industry Recycling Plan (PIRAP) was launched earlier in June by the Plastics 2020 consortium of the British Plastics Federation (BPF), the Packaging and Films Association (PAFA), and the Waste and Resources Action Plan (WRAP).

In order for the recycling targets to be met, the plan sets out the need for reform of PRNs and PERNs to ensure a level playing field for domestic reprocessors and exporters. Inequities in evidence requirements for packaging recovery notes (PRNs) for UK producers and exported packaging (PERNs) continue to be questioned by industry. Currently, to issue a PRN, there has to be a final pellet or material from which a new product can then be produced. To issue a PERN, the requirement is a waste bale, from which a new product can’t yet be produced, which must be exported.

Recent low oil prices have meant domestic manufacturers of recycled plastic bottles have been struggling in a market where virgin plastic is cheaper than recycled.  The plan also asks regulators to consider how the use of recycled plastic can be incentivised.

All players in the plastics packaging recycling supply chain are being asked to sign up and work in partnership towards a shared goal of economically sustainable growth in the rate of UK waste plastics recycling. This includes:
•    UK central government departments and agencies
•    Local authorities
•    Waste management companies
•    Plastic reprocessing companies
•    Compliance schemes
•   Businesses obligated under the ‘Waste Packaging Regulations’ – retailers, brand owners, packaging converters and fillers

The plan aims to develop a ‘resilient and sustainable plastics recycling sector in the UK’.

Chris Taylor, Commercial Manager at Clarity said: “It will certainly be interesting to see how UK reprocessors of plastic packaging will react to the changes in this plan. One incentive which should be welcomed is the proposed equality between UK producer PRNs and PERNs, their exported equivalents. I am frequently reminded by UK plastics reprocessors that more activity is needed to create a PRN than a PERN and that within this difference lies an injustice. UK reprocessors must perform a reprocessing action on plastic packaging waste in order to claim a PRN, whereas exporters can claim their PERNs once a shipment of plastic packaging waste has left a UK dockside.”

Our trading team at Clarity offer flexible options for PRNS and PERNs. Call us now to find out how we can help your business comply on 0845 129 7177.

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