Alupro: Revisions to the aluminium incinerator bottom ash protocol advised

Source: Aluminium Packaging Recycling Association

Redditch, UK – Following approval from Defra and the Environment Agencies, revisions are being introduced to the protocol which accounts for aluminium packaging recovered from incinerator bottom ash (IBA). The three revisions to the protocol are designed to obtain a more accurate rate of the aluminium packaging currently being recycled in the UK or exported for recycling.

  1. The existing protocol which is based on the mixed non-ferrous element of IBA has been revised. The protocol now recognises that a minimum of 70 percent of the mixed non-ferrous metals recovered from IBA is aluminium packaging, including drinks, cans, foils and aerosols. This increase from the previous percentage of 50 percent follows detailed studies of tested samples and discussions with metal processors since the introduction of the initial protocol in January 2015.
  2. A new protocol is being introduced based on the aluminium fraction which is recovered from mixed non-ferrous. When the original protocol was developed the majority of the aluminium packaging recovered from IBA was exported, mixed with other non-ferrous metals. The protocol was, therefore, based upon the total mixed non-ferrous metals recovered.

Ongoing analysis of IBA has led to this adjustment, which recognises that significant volumes of mixed non-ferrous metals are sold by IBA processors to UK metal reprocessors who separate the aluminium fraction for export or sale to a UK re-melter. Up to now some metals processors have been applying the original 50 percent figure to the recovered aluminium fraction, instead of the actual recovered aluminium packaging fraction, meaning that packaging recovery has been under-reported. Exporters or UK recyclers of aluminium recovered from IBA mixed non-ferrous metals will be able to issue PRNs/PERNs based on 87.5 percent of the total recovered aluminium fraction.

  1. A new protocol has been introduced recognising that aluminium packaging is present in “fragged” mixed non-ferrous recovered from IBA. Alupro has become aware that some non-ferrous metals recovered from IBA is sold to UK metals processors who mix it with metal from other sources and then process it through a fragmentation plant. The material is then exported (normally as Zorba grade). As the material is mixed with other non-ferrous metals from various sources it is not possible to separately weigh the non-ferrous metals from IBA prior to export (the normal process for issuing PERN).

In these situations metal processors are permitted to issue the PERN on the incoming weight to the fragmentation plant based on 70 percent (based on revised protocol figure above) of the IBA derived mixed non-ferrous metals.

These three revisions can be applied retrospectively from 1 January 2015 or the date at which the reprocessor/exporter originally applied for their accreditation if after the 1 January 2015, in line with the other changes announced by Defra last week.

The tonnage reported for aluminium packaging recovered from IBA is significantly below the level that has been recycled or exported. Revisions to the aluminium protocols are part of Alupro’s on-going strategy to ensure recycling performance data is robust and that accurately reflects the industry’s efforts to meet national recycling targets.

Defra recently issued a statement urging producers and compliance schemes to comply with their packaging recycling and recovery obligations. Unaccredited reprocessors and exporters are encouraged to become accredited and compliance schemes called upon to actively assist them in this process to help secure the requisite number of PRNs/PERNs for their producer members.

Source: Alupro UK