8 April 2016 by Tom Goulding

Paper PRN boost expected as protocol change confirmed

An increase in the proportion of mixed papers that can be counted as packaging during recycling has been confirmed by the Environment Agency.

For 2016, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has agreed that 23% of mixed papers can be recycled as packaging material – up from 12.5%, under changes to the Packaging Waste Regulations.

mixed papers new

The proportion of mixed paper that can be counted toward PRNs has been increased

Mixed papers are mainly sourced from the household waste stream by local authorities through waste and recycling contractors, and contain an element of packaging which ranges from cereal boxes to cardboard.

It is thought that the change in the threshold will lead to a boost in the number of paper packaging recovery notes (PRNs) generated for the year. Until now, paper mills could issue just one PRN for every eight tonnes of mixed paper material handled.

Manufacturing

As cardboard manufacturers are using high volumes of mixed papers in their mix, the announcement will also be a boon to the mills which can now utilise up to 30-40% of the material for cardboard production (see letsrecycle.com story).

In a letter to operators this week (6 April), the Environment Agency said: “Defra supports an increase in the amount of paper and board packaging that can be claimed on mixed waste paper.

“I’m delighted that the EA has agreed to the interim position of 23% on the basis of some MRF sampling data submitted to them by the ACP. This should add around 120,000 tonnes of additional evidence for 2016, effectively increasing UK recycling performance by 1%.”


Phil Conran
Chair, ACP

“For 2016 23% packaging content can be claimed on mixed waste paper. This can be claimed on the mixed waste paper you have recorded on NPWD since 1 January or since the date you were accredited if this was after.”

Mills will be required to record volumes as normal using the 12.5% protocols available on the National Packaging Waste Database until 21 April, after which time they will be updated automatically.

Phil Conran, chair of the Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP), welcomed the protocol change.

He said: “I’m delighted that the EA has agreed to the interim position of 23% on the basis of some MRF sampling data submitted to them by the ACP. This should add around 120,000 tonnes of additional evidence for 2016, effectively increasing UK recycling performance by 1%.

“Hopefully, we will see this figure increased further for 2017 and beyond following sampling trial being conducted by the paper recycling industry later this year.”

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