Defra revises protocols on aluminium from incinerator bottom ash making targets more likely to reach


Targets for the recovery of aluminium should be easier to reach as a result of revisions to the aluminium incinerator bottom ash (IBA) protocol made by Defra.

For the first half of the 2015 packaging compliance period, only 39% of the required 69,927 tonnes to meet the target for aluminium had been recycled.


But Defra has made three changes to the recovery of aluminium from IBA.

The first measure recognises that 70% of the mixed non-ferrous metals recovered from IBA is aluminium packaging, increasing this figure from the previous 50%.

A new protocol is also 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, but now it has been recognised that significant volumes are recycled in the UK. This new protocol should mean that the actual recovered fraction is no longer under-reported as exporters or UK recyclers of aluminium recovered in this way will be able to issue PRNs/PERNs based on 87.5% of the total recovered fraction.

Finally, the third measure is a new protocol that recognises that aluminium packaging is present in ‘fragged’ mixed non-ferrous recovered from IBA. In this situation, it is not possible to separately weigh the non-ferrous metals from IBA prior to export, and so metal processors are able to issue the PERN on the incoming weight to the fragmentation plant based on 70% of the IBA derived mixed non-ferrous metals.

All of these revision can be applied retrospectively from 1 January 2015 or the date when accreditation was applied for if after that date.

In a statement, the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) said: “The tonnage reported for aluminium packaging recovered from IBA is significantly below the level we know has been recycled or exported.

“Revisions to the aluminium protocols are part of Alupro’s ongoing strategy to ensure recycling performance data is robust and that accurately reflects the industry’s efforts to meet national recycling targets.

“Defra recent issued a statement urging producers and compliance schemes to comply with their packaging recycling and recovery obligations.

“Unaccredited reprocessors and exporters are 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.”