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Alupro says PRN system undermines aluminium recycling data

The aluminium packaging recycling organisation Alupro is funding a research project into the metal’s recycling because it believes more material is being processed than is reported.

Presently, packaging recycling data is part of the Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) system, which requires voluntary accreditation by reprocessors and exporters.

Alupro says that many companies choose not to become accredited in this system. This means their tonnages are not captured in the figures and the recycling performance subsequently appears weaker than reality.

Consultancy Resource Futures (RF) is conducting the research, which aims to determine how much aluminium packaging is reprocessed or exported beyond that reported by the accredited organisations.

Bernie Thomas, principal consultant at RF, says it is contacting aluminium reprocessors and exporters previously registered in the PRN system but currently not accredited, as well as trade associations, in order to capture the missing data.

Alupro advocates streamlining accreditation and reducing the administrative burden to encourage a more enthusiastic adoption of the system by the industry.

Rick Hindley, executive director of Alupro, above, says: “A significant number of aluminium reprocessors and exporters have not maintained their accreditation under the PRN scheme, claiming that it is too onerous and, with the value of PRNs so low last year, it was not worth their time to apply this year.

“With the EU circular economy package likely to raise recycling targets even further, it is vital that we understand exactly how much aluminium packaging is in the household waste stream, and exactly how much is being recycled.”

The initial phase of the RF study is intended to be completed by the time the Q3 PRN figures are released to allow comparison.

In April, Alupro said a protocol change in the PRN system by the Environment Agency was creating difficulties for the aluminium industry in meeting recycling targets.

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