UK: packaging targets met despite decrease in glass

The UK has met its 2010 packaging recycling and recovery targets despite a decrease in the tonnage of glass recycled in the last quarter of 2010, according to results published by the Environment Agen…

The UK has met its 2010 packaging recycling and recovery targets despite a decrease in the tonnage of glass recycled in the last quarter of 2010, according to results published by the Environment Agency on the National Packaging Waste Database. According to the results, more than 7.7 million tonnes of packaging were recycled or recovered during the 2010 compliance year, while the actual 2010 target was 6.8 million tonnes. However, UK packaging producers met their material-specific target for glass only by a small margin as 1.64 million tonnes of glass packaging were sent for recycling in 2010 and the UK obligation figure was 1.69 million tonnes. The glass target was met with the help of Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) carried from 2009 into 2010. The carry over“ total from the last compliance period was around 64,000 tonnes. Under the system, PRNs, which are issued in December, can either be used against that year“s obligation or carried over“ to the following year. About 330,000 tonnes of glass packaging was sent for recycling or reprocessing between October and December 2010, more than 50,000 tonnes less than during the same period in 2009. This means that there was less surplus to carry forward to 2011, and that carry over has decreased to 12,000 tonnes compared to around 63,657 tonnes the year before. In December 2010, adverse weather conditions led to low glass PRN prices. A fraud investigation by the EA at a glass reprocessor called Nationwide also took place in this period, resulting in the firm being suspended. According to Environment Exchange market director, Ian Andrews, the glass 2010 PRN figures were a cause for concern because the PRN system only had 12,000 tonnes to carry over“ as opposed to 64,000 tonnes. Although the figure is a cause for concern I believe that much of the tonnage which was missing from the last quarter of the year will be made up by the first quarter of 2011. Only when data is published for the first quarter of 2011 will we really know if there is going to be an issue with glass this year. Andrews added that a lot of glass did not get moved in December and that this missing“ tonnage could reappear in the system by the first quarter of 2011 (21 April). He also said that, traditionally, glass carry over is normally more than 60,000 tonnes as opposed to 12,000 tonnes and that this puts glass PRNs in a precarious position“. Comparing fourth-quarter with third-quarter PRN production, paper was down 30,248 tonnes, glass dropped 144,803 tonnes, aluminium increased by 166, steel was down 16,197, plastic dropped 15,696, wood 26,393, and recovery increased 9,137 tonnes.