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Compliance fears grow as glass PRN prices rocket

Concern is growing over the cost of compliance as the price of glass PRNs has reached an all-time high.

Fears of a failure to meet packaging recycling obligations have also been growing since figures from the Environment Agency for the second quarter of the year showed a drop in the amount of glass being recycled.

Industry operators said they were waiting to see whether third quarter figures would confirm fears and push prices even further, or show a recovery in glass recycling which could see the market crash.

Higher prices are expected to encourage more reprocessors to register to issue PRNs.

During 2012, the price of PRNs for glass has risen steadily, now up to £80 per tonne, almost ten times the price a year previously, putting pressure on some operators who now have to pay a substantial premium.

Some observers say the record prices have soared because of a decline in PRN fraud. The illegal issuing of notes, they argue, had had the effect of keeping glass PRN prices artificially low. Others say some firms are stockpiling and playing the market.

One recycling boss said: “This is driven by the quarterly numbers and the fear that there’s not going to be enough to go round. I think a lot of firms will have seen their lawyers about what happens if they fail to comply with their obligations.”

“It’s only 10-15% of the market where you’re seeing the activity, it’s panic buying, I’m surprised the price isn’t higher.”

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