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relief for many after glass recycling targets are lowered

25th March 2014

Glass manufacturers who are obligated by the Producer Responsibility Regulations for Packaging Waste could see a reduction in PRN costs after the Government lower recycling targets. Last week (20.03.2014) Defra announced that the glass recycling targets would be lowered for 2014, releasing some of the pressure on glass PRNs which has been felt since mid-2012.

Glass recycling targets The announcement sees targets drop from 81% to 75%; however, the percentage increase by an increment of 1% each year, culminating in a 77% recycling target for 2017. The split between glass remelt and aggregate was also revised with a 35%/65% split target for 2014, 34%/66% for 2015 and 33%/67% for 2016.

The packaging waste regulations obligate businesses that handle over 50 tonnes of waste a year and have an annual turnover of £2 million.

Glass obligated producers have a responsibility to ensure that the specified percentage of their glass packaging waste is recycled and reported to the Environment Agency every year by purchasing PRNs as evidence. The overstated target of 81% forced PRNs prices to rise from a reasonable £10-£20 per tonne in 2012 to as high as £80 per tonne in late 2013 and prices have remained high, creating unfair and unnecessary costs for businesses.

Glass industry reacts

The wine industry and manufacturers of glass have unsurprisingly welcomed the target change in the hope that PRN prices may begin to fall, though it is unlikely that this will take immediate effect. The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) predict the target change could save its members around £38m.

Miles Beale, WTSA chief executive said: “Since mid-2012 there has been a huge increase in PRN prices, which has had a significant commercial impact on our members. We hope that by lowering the PRN rates and targets this will restore stability to the market.”

Materials recycling world reports

The British Glass Manufacturers Confederation are also said to be pleased that the Government have considered their recommendation to reduce the glass recycling target reports Edie.net.

The confederation stated “The lower price will in turn decrease the price of recycled glass and the glass manufacturing industry will be able to increase the amount of recycled glass it uses.”

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive, James Lowman, also commented "We welcome the reduction to the glass recycling business targets and the savings it will bring to obligated retailers. However, the Producer Responsibility Obligations are still flawed and are in need of a radical overhaul to avoid a similar situation for other materials in future.’’

Managing Director of packaging producer compliance scheme Comply Direct, Gareth Roberts, commented: “The new targets are certainly good news in terms of taking steps towards reducing the costs of Glass PRNs - fewer will now be needed in order to meet producer obligations. Such a drop in the target means we can at least be optimistic about lower glass PRN prices.

For more information from Comply Direct regarding packaging compliance and the glass recycling targets please get in touch with the packaging compliance team.