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Aluminium packaging recycling soars in Q2, but PRN prices remain high

Packaging Solutions Green Solutions

According to recent data published on the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD) by the Environment Agency (EA), aluminium packaging recycling volumes rocketed in Q2. Showing an impressive uplift compared to the same period in 2022, this puts the industry firmly on track to once again exceed annual recycling targets.

In Q2 2023, 38,829 tonnes of aluminium packaging were collected for recycling – a 5% increase year on year. Of this volume, 26,749 tonnes was recycled through kerbside, bring and on the go systems (69% of total volume, +5% year on year), while 11,791 was recovered from incinerator bottom ash (IBA), with tonnages up +5% compared to 2022.

So far this year, a total of 79,922 tonnes has been captured across the UK, representing 58% of the volume needed to surpass this year’s aluminium packaging recycling target. Compared to 2022, the market is already tracking 11% ahead and, if momentum continues, looks firmly on course to reach record rates.

Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, commented: ‘It is encouraging to share such positive recycling figures for the second quarter of 2023. We are significantly ahead of 2022 volumes and look set to maintain this progress well into the second half of the year.

‘However, despite excellent recycling rates, PRN prices remain abnormally high – a dichotomy that undermines aluminium’s sustainability credentials and directly impacts packaging users who are often perplexed by the erratic cost of compliance.

‘If we are not careful, skewed pricing will also drive an unnecessary increase in the volume of post consumer material sent for recycling overseas, alongside a drop in demand from the domestic market. Moving forward, greater transparency in packaging waste recycling is therefore essential.

‘Following further delays to EPR reform, it is clear that addressing the PRN system should be our number one priority. While it has delivered upon its initial objectives, the system is now dated and frankly unsuitable for purpose – inflated prices despite strong recycling volumes perfectly demonstrate this.

‘We don’t need yet another consultation, we need action. This will prove pivotal in further driving recycling rates, as well as transitioning towards a more circular economy.’


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