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UK aluminum packaging recycling rates up in 2017: Alupro

London — The recycling rate for aluminum drinks cans continued to increase year on year in 2017, hitting 72%, up from 70% in 2016, while the national recycling rate for all aluminum packaging reached 51%, up from 50% in 2016, industry group Alupro said Monday.

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According to packaging waste recovery data released by the UK's Environment Agency, aluminum packaging "easily achieved its 2017 business target," Alupro said.

There was a 4% rise in the number of Packaging Recovery Notes raised in 2017, to 94,092 mt versus 90,095 mt in 2016.

A PRN is a document that provides evidence waste packaging material has been recycled into a new product. There is also a market allowing PRNs to be traded between accredited reprocessors and obligated companies that have a packaging obligation.

"Ultimately, the PRN numbers show that over 8,000 mt of aluminium PRNs were raised but not issued," Alupro said. "As in previous years, there is evidence that some reprocessors/exporters chose not to become accredited or decided not to raise the maximum number of PRNs they could have done, due to the resulting low PRN prices."

Alupro is backing a reform of the PRN system "to ensure the system accurately records all the aluminium packaging collected for recycling, that consumer focussed behavior change programmes are properly funded and that 'real recycling' is recognized and rewarded," it said.

The data also shows 92% of the aluminum packaging collected for recycling in the UK is recycled within Europe, Alupro said. "This demonstrates that there is more than sufficient capacity within the EU to recycle the aluminium packaging recovered for recycling in the UK," it added.

Alupro represents the leading aluminum packaging producers, reprocessors, converters, fillers and brand owners in the UK on issues relating to the recycling of aluminum packaging.

--Andy Blamey, andy.blamey@spglobal.com
--Edited by Jeremy Lovell, jeremy.lovell@spglobal.com