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The Environment Agency have released provisional recycling figures for the first quarter of 2014, with interesting results for the steel, glass and plastic markets.

The steel and plastic figures show the greatest change when compared against the same period in 2013. The amount of steel recycled is significantly lower (approximately 27%) when compared with last year, leading to concerns in the market of a possible shortage. On a more positive note, there has been an improvement in the amount of glass and plastic recycled, with the plastic tonnage around 25% higher than it was in 2013.



Tonnage recycled Q1 2014

Tonnage Recycled Q1 2013




Glass Remelt



Glass Aggregate

















Steel recycling is believed to have dropped since 2013, largely as a result of the shortage in export container availability, meaning that it has been difficult to send material abroad for reprocessing. This means that the PRN price per tonne for steel is currently estimated at around £15 per tonne. On the flip side of this it is believed that the increase in price of steel PRNs, as well as some earlier stockpiling of material, will mean that we see higher recycling rates later in the year.  

ecosurety has purchased a significant proportion of our steel PRN obligation, so our members can be assured that there are no concerns about supply of steel PRNs to offset their 2014 obligations. We are also confident that our pricing will be competitive against others in the market.


There have been concerns about the increased plastic obligation, with the recycling target increasing by 5% since 2013. However, the amount of recycling reported in January – March this year is around 25% higher than it was in Q1 2013, which is reassurance that this target can in fact be met.


Glass recycling has also increased in 2014, compared with the figures reported for the same period in 2013, going from total 326,816 tonnes in 2013 to 358,589 tonnes in 2014. Typically, glass recycling is lower in Quarter One and increases later in the year. It is expected that the glass PRN pricing will be more stable in 2014 than it has been in previous years. The PRN prices are currently around £50 for remelt and £30 for aggregate.

This data will be confirmed later in the month, when the Environment Agency publishes the annual obligation figures, showing how much recycling is required in 2014. Therefore, the significance of the changes in recycling levels above will only become apparent when the total UK PRN obligation for 2014 is confirmed.

For more information, please contact our Compliance Team on 0845 094 2228 or email info@ecosurety.com.

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