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'Malfunctioning' PRN system hits aluminium sector

The PRN system for aluminium is “malfunctioning”, the industry’s packaging body has said.

Provisional packaging data for 2013 showed the sector met its target by recovering 70,788 tonnes of aluminium, up 7,928 tonnes on 2012, the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) said.

But the tonnage recovered in the fourth quarter of 2013 was notably lower than that seen earlier in the year, at 13,981 tonnes versus the 18,935 tonne average recorded for the first three quarters.

Alupro said this showed some reprocessors and exporters were choosing not to report tonnage figures once targets have been met because the PRN value was not a sufficient incentive at less than £5 per tonne.

This meant that a significant volume of aluminium packaging collected for recycling will not be counted towards the 2014 total.

Rick Hindley, executive director of Alupro, said: “The fourth quarter figures should be of concern, showing the PRN measurement system needs examining if it is to work in encouraging reprocesses and exporters to report their tonnage figures, especially if future and ever higher recycling targets are to be met.

“The system is malfunctioning as companies producing and placing packaging onto the market are legally obligated to part of the system but recyclers and exporters of packaging are not”

But he said the overall performance in 2013 was “a good indicator that 2014’s higher target can be met, or even exceeded”.

The target for obligated aluminium producers increased from 43% in 2013 to 46% in 2014.

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