Q4 2022 Verified Packaging Data Released

This information is verified and therefore these volumes will not fluctuate as seen in earlier data releases. The data for Q4 is always strongly anticipated for two reasons. Firstly, we can now see if the UK has officially hit its recycling targets for 2022. The data confirms that, despite it being a hugely challenging year, all materials have met their relevant targets, even with the record high prices experienced in some materials.

Figure 1. Q4 2022 Verified packaging recycling levels with carry over PRNs from December 2021 included

Secondly, this data release also showcases how many surplus PRN’s are available to be carried into the 2023 compliance year, confirming the UK’s starting position for each material in 2023. Carry in tonnage are PRNs that have been generated in the month of December, which were not needed to be used to hit the 2022 recycling targets. Unfortunately, with the strain on the 2022 recycling rates, the large majority of carry in PRN’s were needed to be used to achieve compliance. 

Table 1: 2022 packaging recycling levels alongside confirmed carry in and final UK obligation

Table 2: 2023 Carry in PRN’s verses 2022 Carry in PRN’s

This table provides a comparison to the 2022 carry in figures. As you can see the UK’s carry in levels are significantly lower for 2023 and therefore the pressure for strong and consistent recycling rates throughout this year is fundamental if the UK is going to reach its targets. Looking at the carry in levels in isolation is clearly concerning, however this is not surprising given the poor performance last year. Because of this, the pressure on the recycling industry into 2023 has remained high to try and counteract this deficit.

It is important to note that this is only one third of the puzzle that confirms the UK’s requirements for achieving its targets in 2023. The second piece of this puzzle is the material specific targets for 2023, which have been confirmed will remain the same this year.

Lastly, the UK obligation figure, which is calculated from producers final packaging submissions, will determine the overall target allowing us to track the progress made throughout the year. This UK obligation figure is not available until 12th May, meaning pinpointing actual progress versus targets at this stage of the year is incredibly difficult.  


At this stage in the year, the lack of available data alongside the confirmed reduction of carry in, has meant that the high pressure and ultimately high price levels have continued into 2023 PRN markets. Other supporting data is needed to fully understand the upcoming market trends and direction for 2023. The initial release of UK Obligations for 2023 will determine the demand for PRN’s and the Q1 2023 Recycling data will help to outline early supply for 2023. These upcoming data releases will help stakeholders understand the UK’s position further and drive the direction of future markets.  

It’s also worth considering that it’s still very early in the year, and as with previous years, if the UK is to hit its recycling targets, strong recycling levels will be required.

We will be hosting a PRN market update webinar for packaging members on the 15th May at 10am, where we will update on you the unverified Q1 data, which will be released on 22nd April as well as provide you with a general overview of the PRN market and pricing for 2023. Register your free place here.

If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your account manager or the procurement team and we’ll be happy to help.