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Latest recycling report sparks optimism

The Environment Agency’s latest packaging waste recycling and recovery data report predicts that all recycling targets should be met by the end of the year. This will no doubt provide some comfort to the industry regarding packaging recover notes costs.

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The report has sparked optimism that PRNs will be reduced

Providing an overall overview of the amount of material collected during Q3 of 2019, the report shows that paper, glass, steel and wood are all set to exceed their targets.

Aluminium has achieved a 10% improvement from Q2, and plastic also experienced an increase. The report has sparked optimism that this means the prices for aluminium and plastic packaging recover notes (PRNs) could be reduced as a result.

PRNs are required when a company that handles over 50 tonnes of packaging material each year and has a turnover of more than £2m, has an obligation as set out by UK Packaging Waste regulations to contribute towards the funding of its recycling.

Businesses are revisiting their packaging materials, with some seeking a solution through light-weighting

The targets are divided into packaging material types and these companies are referred to as ‘obligation producers’. These companies must register, calculate their obligation and purchase PRNs.

Despite aluminium being behind its target in Q2, the latest result will act as assurance that the recycling of this material is making process.

The rapid increase in prices for PRNs has been the root of much conversation in the packaging and recycling industry.

While UK companies have been working to meet their targets, as the exports markets have stumbled, demand for PRNs has continued to rise in a bid to ensure that the necessary levels of recycling are met.

The recycling of aluminium has jumped by 10% since Q2 2019

In a recent report, Angus Macpherson, managing director of The Environment Exchange, describes the issue as having “come to a head” in 2019 with prices of plastic PRNs averaging £262.17 per tonne, rising to up to £480.
“Businesses are revisiting their packaging materials, with some seeking a solution through light-weighting,” Macpherson says, adding: “Others through substitution and others are considering the challenges of collection, a circular solution.”

Speaking to Materials Recycling World, Rick Hindley, executive director of the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation, comments on the latest report: “We expect the unjustifiably high PRN price will start to fall to more realistic levels. Historically, aluminium PRN prices have been below £30 per tonne, yet currently aluminium PRN’s are trading, on the spot market, at around £450 per tonne.

“While aluminium is now in a positive position, we continue to urge the Government to make short-term changes to the PRN system, pending the reform of producer responsibility system, to ensure that PRN prices stabilise at a realistic level and to ensure that monies raised through the system are invested to boost recycling levels as intended.”

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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