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glass packaging consultation launched by defra

17th December 2013

Defra have opened (17 December 2013) their much anticipated consultation into Glass packaging recycling business targets to 2017. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is seeking views on proposals to amend the glass recycling business target in the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) Regulations 20121 and the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 after new evidence supplied by the GlassFlow report (October 2013) indicated that inaccurate glass waste figures were recorded for the 2012 reporting year

Volatility in the glass recycling market throughout 2012 and 2013 resulted in significant and prolonged instability in Glass PRN prices over this period with average UK Glass PRN prices rising from a low point of £10 per tonne to £75 per tonne at its highest (figures taken from the Glass Consultation Document), significantly increasing the cost of compliance for many packaging producers with a Glass obligation.

After receiving pressure from stakeholders and obligated Glass producers, Defra supported the Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP) in their investigation into possible causes of the perceived glass recyclate shortage in 2012 and the subsequent prolonged spike in PRN prices. Based on the results of this review it was identified that UK Glass waste arising as previously estimated should be reconsidered and updated with more accurate estimates to be used to report back to the European Union.

In summary the options included in this consultation document and Impact Assessment under consideration are:

  • a) Option 1 – Do nothing – keep the glass packaging recycling business target at 81%.
  • b) Option 2(a) – Lower the glass packaging recycling business targets to 75% and maintain the split between remelt and other applications at the same percentages.
  • c) Option 2(b) – Lower the glass packaging recycling business target to 75% and amend the split between remelt and other applications.
  • d) Option 3(a) – Lower the glass packaging recycling business target to 77% and maintain the split between remelt and other applications at the same percentages.
  • e) Option 3(b) – Lower the glass packaging recycling business target to 77% and amend the split between remelt and other applications.

The options provided by the government are based on ensuring that the government can achieve sufficient recovery and recycling of waste glass packaging in order to continue to meet the EU minimum targets. If the targets remain at current levels this could incur for obligated producers higher costs in order to deliver the required level of recycling set by the business targets. The cost of recycling with the 81% target is indicated by current PRN prices along with evidence of costs and benefits.

Options 2 and 3 could deliver net benefits to obligated producers by potentially lowering the cost of Glass PRN prices. This could, however, have a negative effect to the Glass recycling industry as reprocessors and exporters could see reduced revenues. Within the consultation impact assessment figures imply that options 2(a), 2(b), 3(a) and 3(b) will all deliver cost benefits in comparison to option 1. The net benefit of option 2(a) is potentially the highest of all the options with industry gains of up to £4.23m.

Gareth Roberts, Managing Director Producer Compliance Scheme Comply Direct, commented: “We welcome this consultation as it now gives industry a chance to give their view of the proposed 5 options.” “There is no doubt that glass obligated producers have been paying very high Glass PRNs of late and this has caused much financial distress for them and, ultimately, the costs find their way to the consumer. We do, however, also need to ensure that there is appropriate funding via the PRN system for reprocessor investment so that the UK not only continues to meet the EU Packaging Directive minimum targets but ensures that it is a now and future leader in Glass recycling for a more sustainable environment.”

The consultation states that the Government does not have a preference amongst the options it provides for the consultation but it does invite views on all options, including those on doing nothing (option 1). Views are now welcome from all stakeholders, including: Compliance Schemes, Producer, Glass reprocessors and exporters. As a Producer Compliance Scheme,

Comply Direct will be seeking the views of its members to collate and inform it’s response to Defra. The deadline to submit responses to Comply Direct is the 10th of January 2014, any comments submitted after this date will not be considered.

Click here to download the full Glass Consultation Document.

For more information please do not hesitate to get in touch with Comply Direct team.