Defra and the Environment Agency (EA) have agreed to increase further the proportion of packaging in the mixed paper packaging recovery note (PRN) protocol after doubling it earlier this year.
When the scheme was introduced in 1997, the amount of packaging content that could be claimed on mixed paper was set at 12.5%.
Since then, a decline in newspaper readership, increased online shopping and changes in food packaging are all said to have increased the proportion of packing paper.
In April, the EA announced the limit would be raised to 23% for 2016 following analysis of data collected from MRFs last year.
Now the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) has welcomed a further increase to 34.5% from 1 January 2017, after reaching agreement with the EA, Defra and the Advisory Committee on Packaging.
The change follows further analysis whereby CPI and Recycling Association members tested random samples of mixed paper drawn from more than 1,500 tonnes of material and found that the average packaging content was 34.5%.
Additionally, paper mills or exporters that can demonstrate they are using the BS EN643 industry standard will not be required to provide evidence of material sampling for PRN accreditation.
The CPI said the change could increase the number of paper PRNs on the market by 290,000.
Simon Weston, CPI director of raw materials, said: “These changes represent a considerable simplification to the current system, and should assist those reprocessing and exporting paper-based materials to engage with and support the PRN system.”