Minister quizzed over plastics recycling target

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Liberal Democrat MP, Sir Bob Russell, has challenged the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Richard Benyon, to explain if PRNs influence the amount of plastic packaging waste collected by local authorities.

“What assessment has he made of the effect of the PRN price on local authorities' collection of plastic packaging waste?” he asked Benyon. “What investigation has he made as to whether local weight-based recycling targets discourage local authorities from collecting lighter materials such as plastic packaging?” continued Russell.

He also questioned the minister over the possible impact of weight-based recycling targets on the PRN price once the new national recycling targets are introduced for plastic packaging and if the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government had ensured that local and national recycling targets are being coordinated to deliver improvements in collection and recycling of plastic packaging waste.

“The impact assessment supporting the consultation on new recovery and recycling targets for packaging waste for 2013-17 looked at the impact of increased packaging recovery note (PRN) costs and revenues and the likely impact on levels of collection,” said Benyon.

“As PRN prices rise, reprocessors will receive more revenue which they are expected to invest in increasing capacity for collection and reprocessing of packaging waste. This could take the form of increased support for waste collectors, including local authorities, to collect more material.”

“There are no recycling targets on local authorities, weight-based or otherwise,” he added. “Centrally imposed targets were removed to enable local authorities to focus on local priorities.”