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defra to consult on glass recycling target

21st October 2013

The Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP) commissioned GlassFlow report published 17 October confirms the overestimation of the amount of glass placed on the UK market in 2012 and has encouraged Defra to consider a consultation into amending the glass packaging business recycling targets from 2014 to 2017. The ACP report has confirmed that the amount of glass placed on the UK market for 2012 was closer to 2.4m tonnes as opposed to the 2.75m tonne estimate from which Defra based the current UK glass recycling targets on.

The report was commissioned in response to concerns that the overall UK glass recycling targets were based on previously overstated figures. It studied the UK’s glass packaging supply chain with the aim of uncovering the reasons for the recent glass PRN supply issues which have caused volatility and uncertainty in the market since mid-2012 onwards.

Average glass PRN prices jumped to around £70 for Glass Re-melt and £50 for Glass Other and these prices have caused considerable cost pressures on producers with significant glass obligations. The key recommendation from the report is that Defra should now review the 81% glass recycling target, which will run through to 2017, and consider lowering it to 77% in proportion with the 2012 placed on the market tonnage uncovered by the GlassFlow report.

Defra has since confirmed via their Twitter feed (17 October) that the department will consult on changing the glass recycling targets. If the targets are lowered then this will reduce glass PRN levels and in theory take pressure off the glass PRN price and reduce costs for obligated packaging producers with a glass obligation.

Gareth Roberts, Managing Director of producer compliance scheme Comply Direct, commented: “We have been awaiting the publication of the GlassFlow report for some months amid much speculation that the glass containers placed on the UK market figures needed adjusting on the basis that they had previously been overstated. They do indeed appear to have been overstated and therefore if this is the case it does allow for a potential reduction in the UK glass recycling target and yet the UK still be able to hit EU 60% overall recycling target.” “Clearly, when Defra are setting targets they need to have accurate data in front of them and the new methodologies within the GlassFlow report should deliver more accurate data. In theory, once it is confirmed targets are being lowered we should some easing of price pressure on glass PRNs for the 2014 compliance year but nothing is guaranteed given what has been experience in the glass PRN market over the last year or so.”

For more information about how a reduction in glass recycling targets could affect your compliance costs for 2014 then do not hesitate to get in contact with Comply Direct's expert packaging team.