PRN system reform ‘will’ aid economy

A reform of the packaging recovery note system will stimulate economic growth and provide a sustainable business model for the plastics recycling industry, according to an industry expert.

Closed Loop Recycling chief executive Chris Dow is spreading the latter message to key influencers in the waste and resource management industry and has said that his views have been welcomed by the sector.

Dow has argued for a PRN-offset system. He said that this system would “address the oft-cited imbalance between PRNs and PERNs and at the same time help encourage companies to use recycled content in their packaging”.

The news comes as the British Plastics Federation has announced its own review of the PRN system and is currently looking into the viability of the proposed PRN Offset model. 

Labour MP and APSRG co-chair Alan Whitehead welcomes this development and has also offered his support for a PRN Offset which he sees as a natural extension of his original ‘Renewable Content Obligation’ proposal. This policy called for a requirement for some packaging, such as plastic bottles, to contain a minimal level of recycled material by law.

Commenting on the PRN Offset concept, Alan Whitehead said:  “Retailers and packaging manufacturers have a responsibility to the public and the environment to do all they can to sustain the life of the packaging they produce, thus preventing thousands of tonnes of this resource ending up in landfill or being exported overseas. 

“Incentivising brand owners and packaging companies to use recycled content is nothing short of essential if we are to operate to a circular economy.

“However, current UK legislation does nothing to encourage the use of recycled content in packaging.  It’s clear that this needs to change. I fully support the idea of a PRN Offset which rewards those retailers who use UK recyclate in their packaging.  It makes sound sense both environmentally and economically.”

Dow added: “We’re delighted that Alan and others in the industry are backing a PRN Offset model and have chosen to support our call for a review of the PRN system in favour of incentivising UK brands and packaging companies to use recycled content. 

“Alongside others in the industry, we are continuing to raise this important issue in order to guarantee the future of the UK recycling industry and solve a huge environmental issue.”

Liz Gyekye

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