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Glass short on packaging recycling obligation as other materials exceed target for 2010

The glass industry has “no need to panic yet” over the seeming shortfall in meeting its packaging recycling obligation for 2010 because other factors may show the final figures actually exceed obligation, according to British Glass.

Early fourth quarter data for packaging recovery published on the National Packaging Waste Database shows that all materials exceeded their obligations for 2010 apart from glass. The packaging recycling obligation for glass in 2010 was 1,696,884 tonnes, but data calculated by the Environment Agency shows that 1,647,916 tonnes were recycled – missing the target by 48,968 tonnes.

However, the report states that glass recycler Nationwide has yet to report its data for Q4. It was found, following an investigation by MRW, that the company had lost its accreditation to issue PRNs last year. This accreditation has now been re-instated.

Additionally, the packaging recovery note (PRN) market specialist Environment Exchange explained that once the carry-over figures at the beginning of the year and end of the year are added in, glass obligation has been exceed by around 30,000 tonnes.

British Glass recycling manager Rebecca Cocking said: “Nationwide is classed as a large producer, which means it can process more than 400 tonnes, so the difference could be made up by what it has to declare.

“The question will be, if the obligation has not been met, who is it that hasn’t met it? Under the Packaging Directive, we have to recycle at least 60% of the glass in the waste stream. So, as long as we have done this, it is enough to suffice the European Commission.

“What is more worrying is that if we have not met our 2010 obligation, then 2011 is a flat year for targets, so there is no real incentive there to drive recycling further. There is no push to keep the recycling rate going [and therefore hit the 2011 target].”

The glass packaging recycling target in 2010 was 81%, which the Government announced last year would roll over to 2011 and 2012.

But compared with Q3, all materials figures were down, apart from aluminium, which increased by 166 tonnes. Data showed glass fell by the most, with 144,803 tonnes less, paper was down by 30,248 tonnes, steel fell by 16,197 tonnes, plastic was down by 15,696 tonnes and wood was down by 26,393 tonnes. These falls are thought to be a result of the bad weather and low PRN values at the end of 2010.

Scrap-Ex director of markets Gareth Goodall said: “The numbers do raise some question marks on the impact of those accredited suppliers dropping out of the system because of the poor pricing levels and the impact of this on carry-over tonnage. Glass carry-over is much lower this year than last, which could firm things up around the £10 level. I’m not sure what, if any, impact Nationwide will have on the glass numbers because it has yet to report.”

The aluminium industry also raised concerns over the number of reprocessors dropping out of the PRN system. Alupro executive director Rick Hindley said: “I don’t think we are getting an accurate profile of the packaging recycling market [because of the diminished number of people reporting packaging recycling data].”

Commenting on aluminium’s performance in Q4, he added: “Figures are quite strong and we expect this trend to continue.”

PRN trading platforms were particularly interested in the low carry-over of material into 2011. A spokesman for the Environment Exchange said: “Following the difficulties at the end of the year in the glass market, the Q4 figure was 25% below the average quarterly production and the carry-over figure for 2011 was 80% below what it was last year. In addition, unlike previous years, the glass industry drew on  carry-over  tonnage from 2010 to meet obligations, reinforcing the price increases seen at the end of the year.

“It is anticipated that the Q1 figures for 2011, due to be released in the next few weeks,will bring production back into balance. But, for the meantime, it could bring more value into the PRN for Q1 at least.”

MaterialTotal packaging recycled 2010 (tonnes)Obligation
Paper3,103,3862,535,051
Glass1,647,9161,696,884
Aluminium60,30359,129
Steel386,621340,274
Plastic598,252545,305
Wood2,298,282204,738
Total recycling6,568,3686,357,078

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