What are PRNs?

PRNs (packaging recovery Notes) are the evidence required by producers of packaging waste to comply with the Producer Responsibility (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2005 in the UK.  PRNs are issued by accredited reprocessors and act as an incentive to recycle and as a means for businesses to offset the amount of packaging that they place into the UK market. Packaging producers and handlers are obligated to purchase a number of PRNs every year based on the type of their business and the amount of packaging they handle. This is referred to as the businesses PRN obligation.

In order to comply a business must calculate their PRN obligation (packaging obligation) for the current compliance year in each specific material. There are six materials for which a business might have an obligation, plastic, paper, glass, aluminium, steel and wood.  PRNs are material specific and businesses need only purchase PRNs to cover material that they have performed activity on.

The PRN market is an open market allowing PRNs to be traded between accredited reprocessors and obligated companies that have a packaging obligation. Trading of PRN’s for the current compliance year can take place between 1st December the previous year and 31st January the following year allowing registered companies to both buy and sell PRNS during this period.  As with any open market the cost of compliance will vary throughout the year driven by the fluctuating price of PRNs.

Written by Yvonne Manders