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Packaging Recovery Note prices set to rise unless Defra changes targets

Prices for steel Packaging Recovery Notes are set to rocket unless the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs changes its targets for 2009, according to Corus Steel Packaging Recycling manager David Williams.

He told MRW that following a meeting last week of the Advisory Committee on Packaging, many of the larger issuers of steel and aluminium were concerned that Defra wont amend packaging targets for 2009 as this could lead to less responsible companies waiting to buy PRNs later in the year in the knowledge that more PRNs will be available and prices will drop.

Mr Williams said: Corus is the biggest issuer of PRNs in the UK. We will be out of the game and not issuing them for approximately six months. Then in the six months after that we will be issuing low volumes.

From discussions Ive had with other major players, I am optimistically estimating that steel PRNs will be 95,000 tonnes down. If you look at the reprocessing capacity, we cant churn out the required PRNs and neither can the exporters.

Ive already seen PRNs placed on the forward market at £150 a tonne and this is a clear indication of where people think the market will go.

He added that companies like Corus will end up buying PRNs at these inflated prices to comply with the law throughout the year, but some businesses may decide to wait in order to keep costs lower.

It will cost us a fortune to comply, he said, and Im really surprised that nothing came of the ACP meeting and that Defra would not look at the targets. We are in a crisis right now and need support.

Steel has a target of 68.5% recovery for 2009 and aluminium a target of 38%. These targets were set in February 2008. These are part of an overall target of 73% packaging recovery for 2009. 

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