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Defra seeks to drive aluminium recycling

Defra has called on the aluminium sector to embrace the accreditation scheme to reverse the stalling recycling rate.

The most recent packaging waste recovery notes (PRNs) figures showed that aluminium was struggling to meet recycling targets for this year.

For the first half of the year, the figure was 20% below where it needed to be. The Q2 figure was more than 6,000 tonnes down on its target, following a 3,000-tonne shortfall in Q1. The aluminium recycling targets for 2016 and 2017 will continue to increase to 52% and 55%, respectively.

Accreditation for operators who apply this year will run from the date the application is received, not when it was approved. If the operator applied before the start of the year, accreditation will begin from 1 January, meaning PRNs can be issued immediately.

Defra has urged reprocessors and exporters to become accredited and compliance schemes to actively assist them in the process to help secure the requisite number of PRNs for their producer members.

It encouraged reprocessors and exporters to recycle all available aluminium packaging waste make PRNs/PERNs available to the market.

Defra said in the statement: “We would expect obligated businesses and compliance schemes to plan ahead to ensure they can meet their obligations in these years.

“We recognise that the accreditation process may seem complex to some potential operators. While the process must remain robust, the agencies will provide active assistance to those seeking accreditation to ensure a rapid turnaround.”

It has also warned that the Environment Agency, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resources Wales and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency will take “appropriate enforcement action” if producers and compliance schemes do not to comply with their obligations.

The department also advised operators handling incinerator bottom ash to seek advice on the opportunities available through the protocol.

Defra said it will continue to monitor the recovery and recycling performance for 2015, and seek updates from specific sectors and the Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP) on any issues or difficulties.

The ACP recently said it expected a simpler accreditation process for the PRN system to be introduced from 2016.

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