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Answers sought on glass PRN volatility

Concern at erratic movements in the glass PRN market last year has prompted an investigation into the packaging supply chain.

A research project is being backed by packaging compliance scheme Valpak, supported by WRAP, the Advisory Committee on Packaging, Defra, the Environment Agency and British Glass.

Those involved said their main motive was to better understand the volatility experienced in the market in 2012 and the potential impact of the introduction of split targets for glass.

That will mean that to achieve compliance in 2013 a minimum of 63% of glass packaging recycling must come from remelt. 

Compliance was achieved in 2012, but the organisations warned that the surplus carryover of glass PRN/PERN evidence into 2013 was only 16,700 tonnes, compared with the 57,000 tonnes at the end of 2011, “which potentially makes reaching compliance in 2013 more difficult”.

MRW has reported that the Q1 figures show glass recycling was down 10% on this time last year, with glass remelt figures at their lowest for three years, continuing last year’s concerns about glass targets.

Researchers will quantify the tonnages flowing onto the market by colour and format, and seek a better understanding of the likely evolution of glass packaging PRN/PERNs tonnages and prices.

They will also analyse the quality of the glass collected for recycling, which affects the economics of using glass cullet in place of virgin for glass container manufacturers. 

Advisory committee chair Bob Lynsey said: “The committee has been keen to understand the reasons for the unexpected changes in the glass market for PRNs last year.”

He said the research would investigate the flows of materials and develop forecasts for the next few years, which “will give us a good understanding of the glass PRN market”.

The project is due for completion by mid-July. Those wishing to submit evidence should contact

The main objectives will be to:

  • improve market transparency and information on glass packaging recovery and recycling
  • identify and evaluate possible risks to UK compliance for glass this year, and to 2017
  • develop scenarios to assess and quantify potential market supply/demand for increased glass recycling, including collection, sorting, processing and reprocessing

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