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Valpak meets 2012 PRN compliance

Valpak said that it has fully met compliance for its 2012 recycling obligation, despite a challenging year.

The announcement following concerns that obligated companies may fail to comply with their PRN requirements, mostly in the glass sector where figures showed much lower levels of reprocessing for the first three quarters of the year.

However, Valpak said that although it had been “one of the most challenging compliance periods” in the firm’s history, it had fully complied for 2012 thanks to efforts from members, reprocessors and the compliance scheme staff.

To meet the EU target of 60% glass recycling, UK obligated companies need 1.7 million tonnes of glass recycling evidence, however low reprocessing levels throughout last year, meant that a very challenging 565,000 tonnes was still needed in just the final quarter of 2012.

Valpak said that to stimulate this growth, responsible schemes have had to significantly increase the financial contribution they inject through PRNs, meaning that many producer members have had unexpected and sharp rises in their compliance costs.

But it added that that although the experience had been “uncomfortable”, many producers recognised that the system still delivered low cost compliance over time, and that the market must be able to react to fluctuations.

Valpak, which has around 55% of the registered producers as members of its compliance scheme, said that the problems in the market place were caused by a combination of flat targets in previous years, a downturn in exports and reprocessor fraud.

Chief executive Steve Gough said that compliance scheme’s with robust operation plans were key to the success of compliance.

“This year has shown the importance of adhering to some key elements of operational plans, for example steady acquisition of evidence through the year and contingency planning,” he said. “It may be that proposals to remove or relax the requirement for these plans should be reconsidered.”

“We believe that UK reprocessing in glass in the fourth quarter is well over 500,000 tonnes and demonstrates that the capacity exists to handle the required future tonnages on a quarter by quarter basis, despite the trend towards mixed colour/comingled collections.”

He added that at least 14,000 tonnes of evidence produced in 2012 was not required by obligated producers and was carried over into 2013.

Valpak said that the government needed to consider how to deal with a situation where some producers may have decided not to pay for compliance in the hope that the repercussions are less costly.

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