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More EA discretion for overseas recycling welcomed

Amendments to the Packaging Regulations have given the Environment Agency (EA) more discretion to decide whether metals recycled overseas meet the standards required to count towards UK targets.

Welcomed by organisations Alupro and the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA), the move means that where paperwork proving overseas environmental standards is very difficult to acquire the EA can choose to waive the requirement. This means, tonnages recycled can now be recorded more accurately.

Alupro said that difficulties acquiring evidence of broad equivalence had resulted in about 5,000 tonnes of exported aluminium packaging going unreported through the Packaging Export Recovery Note system in 2007, which threatened the UKs 2008 targets.

Alupro executive director Rick Hindley explained: There was never any question of seeking to lower environmental standards - which we are very keen should be upheld - but simply about the difficulties of administration in a complex and highly competitive global market. We believe that the amendment will result in stability for the reporting system for metal packaging recycling, enabling the correct targets to be set, and achieved, as we move beyond 2008.

BMRA director general Lindsay Millington said: We are pleased that the officials at Defra and the advisory committee on packaging listened to the concerns raised by Alupro and the BMRA and that we had a constructive conversations about it. We are also pleased that Environment Minister Joan Ruddock fought for industry and won the amendment.

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