Packaging Recovery Notes and how they work

Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) are the legal proof that you have disposed of your packaging waste in compliance with current regulations.  This post will provide you with an overview of how the system works.

Packaging and your Obligations

Packaging takes up a lot space in landfills and as such the UK Government’s goal is to recycle as much of this waste as possible.  To help this process the UK Government has put in place stringent regulations to control how much waste goes to landfill. 

If you company handles more than 50 tonnes of packaging materials a year, or if you have a turnover of over £2 million, then you have a responsibility to ensure that your packaging materials are collected by a licensed waster reprocessor or exporter.  You will also need to register with the government as a waste producer.

This is applicable by group.  So if you are one part of a group of companies the waste totals and turnover are accumulative.

What are Packaging Recovery Notes?

Packaging recovery notes or PRNs are your proof that you have disposed of your packaging waste in accordance with regulations.  If you are audited as part of maintaining or ascertaining a British Standard, ISO for example, they will want to see your PRNs.  Should you come under scrutiny from the Environment Agency, again the PRN will come to your aid.  The packaging recovery note has real importance.

Subsequently, for every collection made it is important that you have a PRN to prove to all concerned that you have disposed of your packaging waste in accordance with regulations.

Ensure your Waste Reprocessors and Exporters are Accredited

When you approach a company to recycle your packaging waste it is your responsibility to ensure they are accredited.  Accredited reprocessors and exporters are listed on the National Packaging Waste Database, which is maintained by the Environment Agency.


As with most government regulations penalties come into play if it is proven you are not fulfilling your obligations.  Subsequently, it is in your own interests to ensure you dispose of packaging correctly and have packaging recovery notes to prove it.

Useful Links on PRNs