Industry figures have welcomed the Government’s decision to lower glass recycling targets.

It was announced today that PRN (Packaging Waste Recycling Note) rates and targets will be lowered following a huge increase in glass recycling costs. 

A PRN is a document that provides evidence businesses have met their targets for recycling waste packaging material into a new product. Since mid-2012 prices for PRNs have risen from about £10-£20 per tonne to £70-£80 per tonne.

The Government announcement today will see the glass recycling rate cut from 81% for obligated businesses to 75% with an incremental increase to 76% in 2015 and 77% in 2016 and onwards.

It is estimated these changes will bring the price of PRNs down to £22.50 for aggregate and £31.70 for remelt per tonne in each of the years 2014-17.

For a permanent change legislation would be required. Although this cannot happen until the Environment Agency is expected to publish a Regulatory Position Statement shortly.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “The industry has a strong record in reducing glass use, and promoting recycling. Through PRNs the industry has also funded substantial investment in the UK’s waste infrastructure. This new target gives a more accurate assessment of the amount of glass on the market. This is a very positive outcome that we estimate will save the brewing and pub sector between £15 to £20 million.”

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, 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. 

“For that to happen we need Defra to legislate for revised rates and targets as soon as possible. While revising recycling targets is an important step towards improving the PRN system, more needs to be done to introduce greater transparency and accountability to the market.”