ecosurety launches revolutionary PRN investment platform
Producers and reprocessors can sign up to a revolutionary platform that enables Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) obligation money to be transparently invested –for the good of the waste and recycling industry.
Circularety is the only platform that shows companies governed by Producer Responsibility Obligation Regulations exactly where and how PRN money is being invested.The online platform empowers obligated producers and reprocessors to invest in tangible recycling projects and schemes and to communicate about them.
Circularety also enables producers to present detailed PRN expenditure to the board, and publicise CSR and environmental credentials in relation to significant sums of PRN money spent every year.
Reprocessors will be able to use Circularety to showcase concrete projects that producers can invest in using their PRN obligation money. In this way reprocessors can attract larger sums for investment.
James Piper, managing director at leading resource efficiency specialist ecosurety, which created Circularety, explains, “The PRN system is a good one in itself, because it has helped the UK to significantly increase its recycling rates over the years. However, producers and industry bodies have expressed concern about the system, which does not encourage transparency, particularly in relation to what happens to PRN money once obligations have been purchased.
“Circularety means for the first time producers will be able to choose exactly where their PRN money is spent, and reprocessors will be able to put forward concrete investment projects that will benefit the recycling industry.
“We anticipate Circularety will remove price volatility from the PRN system caused by uncertainty over PRN supply and demand.”
How Circularety works:
A producer chooses a project listed on Circularety by a reprocessor that they are interested in funding through their PRN obligation.
In doing so, they are committing to purchase a specific number of PRNs from that reprocessor at a set price, with the proceeds guaranteed to be invested in the listed project. The platform automatically invoices the producer and generates a record which counts towards their PRN obligation.
Each listed project has a description, and a photo with options for a video. Producers will be able to search for projects according to material and PRN type, investment opportunity (new equipment/facilities, awareness campaigns etc), project location, and the deadline a project needs to be completed by.
Producers that invest their PRNs in a completed project will receive a report detailing where and how their PRN money has been spent, enabling them to communicate about their investment in the recycling industry to their stakeholders.
Reprocessors will be spot-checked to ensure they are delivering the project, and will be required to make up the difference on any of their projects that do not receive 100% funding. There will also be penalties at a contractual level to ensure reprocessors do not reneg on their promises.
Circularety will operate first in a Beta phase with a selected number of producers and reprocessors. It is expected to go live from January 2017. Producers and reprocessors interested in joining can contact 0845 094 2228.
A PRN is a Packaging Recovery Note. It serves as evidence that obligated producers must purchase to comply with the Producer Responsibility (Packaging Waste) Regulations in the UK. It proves that packaging waste material has been recycled. An obligated producer is any company handling more than 50 tonnes of packaging in the UK who also has a turnover over £2M.
PRNs can only be issued by accredited re-processors and cover six materials – paper, glass, aluminium, steel, wood and plastic. One PRN is evidence that one tonne of material has been recycled. They were devised as a means for obligated producers to prove that they have contributed to the recycling of the packaging materials they place on the market, with the money generated by PRNs helping to drive investment in the recycling industry.
The amount of PRNs producers are obliged to buy is based on the type and amount of packaging they place on the market. It also considers where their packaging enters the ‘packaging chain’, for example are they importing the packaging, manufacturing it or are they simply selling it on with their products. In the waste industry, producers are described as having a PRN obligation.
Over £565m has been spent on PRNs since the system was created in 2007, with the Chartered Institute for Waste Management expressing concerns this summer over lack of transparency, market volatility and over-reliance of PRN exports which makes it difficult to plan recycling infrastructure projects and exceed waste targets in the UK. During 2015, PRN prices across all materials fluctuated on average by 653%.