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New year waiting game for glass PRNs

Trading in glass PRNs has got off to a slow start as new split targets kick in while the market waits to see whether it has met 2012 targets.

This year, two separate glass PRN categories - remelt and aggregate - have come into force, but after a difficult year and uncertainty over whether 2012 targets have been met, many companies are holding fire on their obligations for this year.

Chris Taylor, PRN trader for Clarity Environmental, said: “We’ve so far seen very little glass being traded this year, with suppliers holding out for the release of the end of year data and a true picture of the situation before setting prices.”

PRN prices are ranging from between £45 and £58 for both categories but remelt is expected to command a higher price in the long run when trading starts in earnest.

With the release of quarter three figures last October showing a seemingly impossible shortfall in the target for glass recycling, many have been predicting that the 2012 target will not be met.

Regulations allow compliance schemes and producers to use PRNs acquired in December to be used for that year or rolled forward to count towards the next year’s obligation, but attempts have been made to make sure that this year’s target is the priority.

The Environment Agency said: “What we have done is advised the market that some schemes have surplus (carry forward) glass PRNs and are willing to offer that to any scheme/producer who needs evidence to meet their 2012 obligations.”

However, there are signs that the industry may have just made it, although this does not mean the end of concerns. Taylor said: “We have heard recent murmurings that we have indeed hit targets. If that is the case we expect that most, if not all, of the country’s stockpiled glass will have been depleted and this will once again leave the UK with the huge challenge of meeting the glass targets for 2013.”

Senior market operator from t2e Ian Andrews expressed a similar sentiment, and said that although the split target made sense it could be a distraction from the real issue for glass recycling.

“I honestly think it will be difficult to meet targets for this year, and if not enough glass is being recycled now, then the split targets will not necessarily change the fact that there will be an overal shortage for this year,” he said.

Traders said that the true prices for PRNs going forward would not establish themselves properly until recycling figures for the final quarter of the year were made available, likely to be in March.


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