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Alupro: UK’s PRN system ‘malfunctioning’

United Kingdom – Now that conclusive figures for 2013 have been collated, the UK’s Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) is ‘delighted’ to report that the domestic aluminium packaging sector managed to recover 70 788 tonnes of the light metal last year. Therefore, recycling was up 12.6% compared to 2012 levels, meaning the industry ‘surpassed its recycling goal’.

Despite achieving the objective set for 2013, a lower fourth-quarter figure – 13 981 tonnes versus the average of 18 935 tonnes for earlier in the year – shows that some players are choosing not to report tonnage figures, according to Alupro.

This is due, it says, to receiving less than £5 per tonne in Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) value, ′which does not provide a significant enough incentive once targets have been met′.

A ′failing mechanism′

Of great concern is that the low fourth-quarter PRN value has already led directly to a fall in the number of reprocessors and exporters choosing to become accredited in 2014. A ′significant volume′ of aluminium packaging collected for recycling will thus not be counted towards the 2014 recycling rate, Alupro points out. The organisation says the PRN system is demonstrating the achievement of targets but ′is failing as a mechanism to measure true recycling performance′.

Alupro′s executive director Rick Hindley argues that the PRN measurement system ′needs examining′ if it is to convince reprocessors and exporters to report their tonnage figures. ′The system is malfunctioning as companies producing and placing packaging on to the market are legally obligated to part of the system but recyclers and exporters of packaging are not,′ he adds.

′Great news′

That is not to say that optimism cannot be carried into 2014. Hindley notes: ′Last year′s success is a good indicator that 2014′s higher target can be met, or even exceeded, which is great news for the sector, the environment and for the many campaigns and programmes Alupro runs that encourages the recycling of aluminium.′

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