Correct packaging data shows plastics targets may be hard to meet


The final packaging data was published yesterday by the Environment Agency that shows all targets were met, but that new targets for plastics will be difficult to reach.

Incomplete data relating to obligation tonnages was published by the Environment Agency two weeks ago in error, and this was withdrawn until the correct data could be published yesterday. There was no change to the packaging figures however with 7.3 million tonnes of packaging recycled in 2011.


These new figures for obligated tonnages showed that all materials met their targets with 25,000 tonnes of PRNs over-issued.

Plastic recycling was only 1,700 tonnes higher than the target last year, but was easily able to meet its target because of its large carry over from 2010.

360 Environmental director Phil Conran said: “All targets were met and the amount of plastics recycling was only just above obligation.

“Plastics is a big risk going forward. Growth of plastics recycling is only at about 15,000 tonnes a year, and we need over 100,000 tonnes to meet the targets. I can’t see them being met without a fundamental change in how we collect plastics.”

Analysis of the data by 360 Environmental also shows that £23.2 million was raised by the sale of PRNs, giving an average price of £3.16 per tonne from the 7.3 million tonnes of PRNs issued. This is just revenue received by reprocessors and exporters and does not take into account any other charges made by schemes and trading platforms. This compares to a total of £34.3 million in 2010, £84.3 million in 2009 and £64 million in 2008.

Of this revenue, only 14 per cent was used to support the price by increasing the price paid for packaging waste, nearly half of the revenue was spent on reducing the price and developing new markets for recyclate, and 25 per cent was used on infrastructure and capacity. The rest was used for future investment, cost of complying with the regulations and communications.

The full data is available at: