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Defra to tackle fall in wood packaging recycling

Defra has said it will respond to industry concerns about the increase in price of wood packaging recovery notes (PRNs) and a downturn in recycling as the UK risks falling short of its targets.

The issues were raised at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP), a body of industry experts that advises Defra.

Wood PRNs have shot up from around £3 in November last year to the current level of around £74.

The ACP meeting heard that wood packaging recycling had fallen in recent years as higher quality material is diverted to biomass facilities.

In addition, this year’s wood packaging recycling target of 38% will increase to 48% in 2020. The industry fears the 2018 target of recycling just over 410,000 tonnes will not be met.

ACP chairman Phil Conran said there had been “strong representations from many organisations”, but it was unlikely that anything could be done to address the situation in the rest of this year.

A Defra statement said: “Following a meeting of the ACP on 23 October, where the packaging recycling targets for wood and the increase in price for wood PRNs were discussed, ministers have been notified of the impact this is having and Defra officials are exploring what can be done to alleviate the pressure this is having on industry.

“Officials will continue to liaise with the ACP as this work is taken forward.”

It is not clear yet what Defra plans to do.

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