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Compliance scheme forum to lobby on PRN reform


A group of 45 packaging compliance schemes (PCSs) have set up an industry forum in a bid to prepare for “huge changes” anticipated following reform of the packaging recovery note (PRN) system.

A meeting of PCSs formed the Packaging Scheme Forum (PSF) on 13 September in Birmingham, where the RWM industry show was begin held.

The EU circular economy package, which the Government is signed up to, will require producers to cover 80% of recycling packaging costs by 2022. Currently producers are paying between 15-20% so this will be a huge hike during a short period of time.

The Government is currently drafting wholesale reform of the PRN system through the upcoming resources and waste strategy, which it says will be published before the end of the year.

Ecosurety policy manager Robbie Staniforth was voted in as chair of the forum. He said the group would “flesh out” industry viewpoints in the coming months and feed them back to Defra.

Staniforth added that the changes ahead could be huge: “This has the potential to affect the whole of our business model so, of course, you would want to share ideas.”

The PSF will be used to share information so all members are kept up-to-date, as well as discussing and proposing ideas and the practicalities of any potential changes.

From an Ecosurety standpoint, Staniforth added: “We are hopeful that, whatever option is chosen, more packaging is going to be recycled and more packaging is going to have recycled material in it.”

Adrian Hawkes, policy director at Valpak, said there would be potentially much higher costs involved for producers.

He said: “What producers are interested in is that they get value for money out of whatever system is brought in – and making sure that they are not just paying ever increasing amounts but that the system encourages efficiency and innovation.

“While it is a producer’s responsibility, the costs must eventually flow through the economy and end up with the consumer.”

Synergy Compliance director Vicki Peck was voted in as treasurer, and the PSF – open to all PCSs – will be run as a not-for-profit.

So far, 45 out of 50 UK compliance schemes have signed up. Members include producers from the automotive, chemical manufacturing, engineering, food and drink manufacturing, apparel, sports and leisure, medical and retail sectors.

Earlier this year, meetings between WRAP and industry packaging group Incpen produced recommendations on how to reduce plastics pollution for environment secretary Michael Gove. This prompted the PCS sector to consider how it collaborated.

The sector has previously had an industry forum, but with the regulations remaining relatively stable, there was a lack of interest in continuing with it.

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