Phil Conran awarded OBE in New Year Honours

An OBE has been awarded to Phil Conran for his work as chair of the government’s Advisory Committee on Packaging.

Mr Conran’s award, in the New Year Honours list 2021 published on 30 December 2020, is for his “services to recycling and the environment”.

The announcement brought a warm response from other members of the Advisory Committee (ACP), who spoke of Mr Conran’s ‘hard work’ and ‘breadth of understanding’. He stepped down from the chair position last month when his term of office ended.

Phil Conran OBE

With many years of involvement in the packaging waste sector, he was announced by Defra as chair of the ACP in December 2014 (see story) and his term of office ended last month. He worked for Biffa until 2008 and developed the Biffpack compliance scheme and is now a consultant with 360 Environmental.


Commenting on his OBE, Mr Conran said: “I am absolutely delighted both for me and the ACP because it gives them recognition too.

“This is also recognition for the waste sector and while I get the glory, a lot of people have been contributing to the work of the committee.  I would like to thank all my colleagues on the committee for all their work, they have done a huge amount. I will miss it and the relationship with the other members, some good friends, and being involved in how the UK system develops.”

I would like to thank all my colleagues on the committee for all their work

Phil Conran

In terms of his role in chairing the committee, he said: “I have very much tried to keep the existing system going and at the same time been preparing for the new system as well as to help with setting the basis for how it will work.”

During his term of office, Mr Conran said that there had been many developments. “Three years ago we had the Circular Economy package from the EU and the fundamental change that was going to have. In that time there has also been a lot of complications: the Chinese market closing and its domino effect, the problem of PRNs shooting up in value, enforcement issues, and trying to make sure the existing system is fit for purpose as we move across to the new.”

On the ACP’s role, he said that he was a “bit frustrated by a lack of political recognition” and on the PRN system, he said that while it did meet the aims of the original packaging regulations, for the new long-term strategic objectives and sustainability aims, “we will be helped by the changes which will take the market volatility out of the system”.

Mr Conran added: “I couldn’t have done the job without the support of 360 and my colleague Vicki Cooper who was extremely patient.”


News of the OBE was today welcomed by ACP members.

Mike Baxter, the ACP’s plastics industry representative and global external affairs director of Berry BPI, said: “He’s been the hardest working chair of the ACP that anyone can recall and his contribution to the UK packaging sector is unrivalled. I am absolutely delighted that all of Phil’s hard work has been recognised – it couldn’t go to a more perfect gentleman.”


“I have always been impressed by his breadth of understanding”

Adrian Hawkes

ACP member and Valpak policy director, Adrian Hawkes said: “Phil’s contribution to the waste and recycling industry has been enormous over the years, and I am absolutely delighted that he has received this honour.”

Mr Hawkes continued: “I’ve known Phil for over 20 years and served under his chairmanship of the ACP for the last five, during which time I have always been impressed by his breadth of understanding and drive to improve the system for all involved. He is also a really nice guy and is rightly recognised with this honour.”


“This honour is thoroughly deserved.”

Rick Hindley

And, Rick Hindley, ACP member and executive director of aluminium organisation Alupro, said: “This honour is thoroughly deserved. I’ve known Phil for many years and he has always been 100% committed and his knowledge of packaging systems is second to none. His leadership has been superb, we have focused on issues and he has always been keen to hear the views of others, which has helped make sure we come to a pretty representative view.”


At the last meeting of the ACP in October 2020, Chris Preston, deputy director for waste and recycling at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, thanked Mr Conran for “the work he had put into the Committee over the past six years, and especially over the recent months during the initial stages of Covid-19.” Deep Sagar succeeds Mr Conran as chair of the ACP.

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