Sustainability

Aluminium packaging to meet 2012 recycling target

The aluminium packaging sector is on course to meet its 2012 recycling targets but if the government’s ‘ambitious’ 2017 targets are to be reached, the packaging waste recovery note (PRN) system should be reformed to cover all recycled aluminium, says Rick Hindley, Chief Executive of the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro).

Rick HindleySpeaking at Alupro’s annual seminar in Birmingham on Tuesday (30 October), Hindley said: “Recently released data for Q3 shows that there is underlying growth of around two per cent overall compared to last year, with the 100 per cent packaging category up by around five per cent.”

Looking forward however, Hindley warned that under the 2017 objectives, which state that from 2013 aluminium recycling rates must increase by three per cent year on year, there was a real chance that the packaging sector might miss its target unless the PRN system, which requires companies to purchase certificates of recycling evidence, is updated to cover all recycled material – including aluminium ash.

He went on to claim that though the government’s targets serve to ‘move recycling on’, success will also depend on improved kerbside collection, as well as official recognition of aluminium packaging recovered by energy from waste plants (EFW) and other treatment technologies. This could potentially see thousands of tonnes of extra aluminium being counted towards the target.

“We estimate that to reach the new targets a further 19,000 tonnes of aluminium packaging will need to be recovered. Our business plan shows that the majority of this material will have to come from improving capture rates from kerbside collections and by officially recognising the aluminium that is recovered from incinerator bottom ash (IBA)”, said Hindley.

“To achieve this we are working on establishing a new protocol to formally account for the aluminium packaging that is already being recovered, and will continue to be recovered, as new waste treatment plants come on stream. It is essential that we are able to officially account material towards the targets, as they do in every other country in Europe.”

Outlining Alupro’s future recycling goals, Hindley highlighted its aim to recycle 70 per cent of aluminium packaging and 80 percent of aluminium beverage cans by 2020.

Calls for PRN reform have been increasing recently, as more ambitious government recycling targets and increased incidents of PRN fraud have put added pressure to the recycling industry.

Read more about aluminium recycling