0845 094 2228

The release of quarter 2 recycling figures has incited mixed reactions from the recycling world.

While some materials are on track to reaching end-of-year targets, there is still concern for others, particularly recovery and aluminium.

Shortfalls bring unease

The removal of some aluminium protocols last year used to generate a significant amount of evidence (~10,000 tonnes), has resulted in a shortfall of recycling in quarters 1 (see previous story) and quarter 2. Only 12,334 tonnes of aluminium was recycled in quarter 2; approximately 8,000 tonnes off the quarterly requirement (see table below). This is disappointing, particularly as the bottom ash incinerator protocol bought in this year to help deal with the shortage, does not appear to be improving the situation. This could be due to the lack of accreditation sought from reprocessors due to the low price of aluminium evidence. There is potential for this to impact producers within the food or drink sector, particularly if they have not fixed or agreed capped prices for their aluminium evidence.

Recovery evidence is also still experiencing a shortfall. Following the shortage in quarter 1, which is thought to be due to a change in criteria for EfW accreditation, it was hoped that many reprocessors would achieve status and that recovery evidence would increase throughout the year. But this does not seem to be happening as speedily as needed.


Table 1. Quarter 2 recycling figures


Bright side

The good news is that all other materials are on track to hitting the annual targets, with materials such as wood and paper having a particularly large surplus. Even plastic, which saw a shortfall in quarter 1 seems to have increased, bringing positivity to the market, which previously saw reprocessors struggling to compete with virgin polymer due to falling oil prices and lack of tonnage acceptance in China.

ecosurety’s commercial director James Piper comments “the focus for us will be ensuring the decision taken to remove protocoled aluminium does not impact UK recycling. The view that bottom ash processing would replace protocol appears to be impacting the market and this needs reviewing to understand why delays are occurring with registrations and reporting.

We know that the low PRN availability does not tie in with actual packaging being recycled so this suggests with more transparency the pricing impact should be limited.” 


Error loading Partial View script (file: ~/Views/MacroPartials/AuthorDetails.cshtml)
Error loading Partial View script (file: ~/Views/MacroPartials/FeedItemSummary.cshtml)

Useful links

Plastic recycling infrastructure and education must jointly improve

The UK needs to improve both recycling infrastructure and reach out harder to consumers to make them care more about recycling, if it is to solve the pressing issue of plastic recycling in the UK.


PRN system to be reviewed by National Audit Office

The Environmental Audit Committee requests review due to concerns over a lack of transparency and the potential for fraud. 


Ecosurety leads expert panel debate at Packaging Innovations 2018

With the hot topics of plastic packaging and the 25 Year Environment Plan at the forefront of the national agenda, we lead an expert panel discussion next month to gain insight and perspective from across industry.