Increase in number of mixed paper PRNs revealed

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The amount of mixed paper PRNs is set to increase by 290,000 from 1 January 2017.

Following agreement between the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), the Advisory Committee on Packaging, the Environment Agency and Defra, it has been agreed that the national Mixed Paper Protocol that defines the amount of claimable packaging waste in mixed papers, this will increase from the provisional figure of 23% to 34.5%. This will potentially increase the number of paper PRNs on the market by 290,000.

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This is in response to societal changes that have altered the composition of mixed paper since it was first agreed in 1997.

A decline in newspaper readership and increased online shopping and changes in food packaging have increased the proportion of packing papers above the originally agreed 12.5%.

After a recent industry sampling week involving CPI and The Recycling Association members, it was found that the average packaging content is now 34.5%.

It has also been agreed that where paper mills or exporters can demonstrate they are using the EN643 grade standard, they will not be required to provide evidence of material sampling for accreditation.

Provided that they can show they are handling UK derived packaging that meets the specified grade standard, they will simply need to be able to demonstrate to the EA that they are buying and selling according to the EN643 standard.

CPI director of raw materials Simon Weston 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.”