A pallet maker says it may have to shut its loss-making recycling arm because it cannot issue Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs).

The PRN is a government/industry initiative which effectively subsidises companies to recycle packaging waste, especially low-value material. Eglinton (Timber Products) Ltd of Londonderry, says its customer, a chipboard maker which has bought over 1,500 tonnes of its wood chips, is allowed to issue PRNs with its products, but it cannot.

Eglinton lost £30,000 in 2001 and says it may now have to sell £150,000 of recycling machinery. It has taken its case to the Northern Ireland environment minister.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Environment Service said the minister would respond, but added that only firms which process recycled material to make it into a new product were entitled to issue a PRN.