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Major reform of packaging regulations announced

The Government have issued a consultation paper outlining options for the total reform of the packaging regulations. The Government is proposing to scrap the current regulations, which have been in place since 1997, and replace them with a new set of packaging regulations which will be in operational by 2023. Under the new regulations, costs to producers are set to increase significantly.

The review has been instigated in order to meet the requirements of the EU Circular Economy Package (CEP) which was recently adopted by the UK. The CEP requires packaging producers to pay for the full cost of meeting the packaging recycling targets, and this should include all of the collection and sorting costs currently funded by local authorities. It is estimated that under the current PRN system Producers are currently only funding around 10% of the full costs, so by 2023 costs to producers are set to increase dramatically.

The consultation paper puts forward proposals on how the UK should meet the new obligations, who should pay, the arrangements for the governance and enforcement of producers and recyclers. Amongst the numerous proposals are:

  • Options for retaining "shared" producer responsibility or moving to a single point of compliance
  • "Modulated fees" for recyclable and non-recyclable packaging
  • Possibility of separate reporting of "household" and "commercial" packaging
  • Compliance options, including retention of multiple compliance schemes, or a move to a single Government appointed organisation

The consultation paper can be found here. The closing date for responses is 13th May 2019.

Government consults on lower glass targets

The Government has announced a mini review of the glass packaging recycling targets for 2014, and proposes a reduction in the targets on obligated businesses.

The review comes after concerns that the current 81% target is too high resulting in a dramatic increase in the PRN price to up to £90 per tonne. A recent report has found that the assumptions behind the 81% target are incorrect and that the UK could meet the EU directive target with a lower UK business target.

The review proposes amending the target on businesses to either 77% or 75%. Due to the timescales involved the Government has opted for a shortened timescale for responses of just 4 weeks.

It is hoped that a reduced target will ease the pressure and reduce the PRNs price in 2014.

The consultation runs until Friday January 17 2013 and seeks responses from England, Scotland and Wales.

Defra to consult on targets

Defra, the government department with responsibility for the packaging regulations, has announced that it will be consulting on the 2013-17 targets later this year. This comes after the targets have been static for 2 years. It is expected that the Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP) will call for an increase in targets.

End of Waste Criteria

New European regulations on when scrap metal ceases to be waste may allow metal merchants to issue Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs). This change has the potential to disrupt the PRN market for steel and aluminium. Previously only steel and aluminium reprocessors and exporters could issue PRNs, but under the new guidance scrap metal merchants producing material which meets a set criteria may also able to do so.