Levels of waste paper packaging recovery could be even higher than figures that show Government targets have already been smashed, according to the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI).
Data from the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD) showed that in 2007 the UK achieved a recovery rate of 84% against a target of 67%, in terms of UK obligated business performance. While projections suggest that if current levels of recovery continue into 2008, rates could be 78%, which would beat targets of 60%.
But rates could be even higher than this. Other CPI data sources suggested that significant tonnages of material are being exported outside the regulatory framework, which does not count towards Government figures.
CPI recovered paper sector manager Peter Seggie said: It is highly likely that the actual recovery level for paper packaging waste against what the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs believes to be flowing into the UK waste stream is much higher than is suggested from the NPWD data.
According to Seggie, the market led UK packaging regulatory system will always mean when targets are reached, the value within the financial mechanism (the PRN and PERN) will fall to a nominal level. He said this is what is now being seen for paper. He also said that this is most likely to be what is causing exporters to send material for reprocessing outside the regulatory system.
Seggie added: 2007 was another bumper year for paper packaging recovery and this is being driven by global demand rather than the regulatory framework. The PRN/PERN value for paper packaging is just about covering the administrative costs of UK reprocessors and exporters but is not leading to any further investment decision being made on the back of it.
Similar concerns about the benefits of the PRN/PERN system to industry growth were raised earlier this year by the CPI (February 13 2008, mrw.co.uk).