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First look at packaging waste data for 2022

Waste data for the first month of 2022 shows a slow start, with uncertainty over final quarterly figures, yet to be released, for 2021.

As the industry awaits the final quarterly packaging waste data for 2021, the first insight into material production for 2022 has been given with the release of the voluntary monthly data report.

The figures, released by the Environment Agency on the NPWD  earlier this month, report on the amount of packaging waste that has been recycled or exported in January.  With the data often incomplete at this time of the year, it must be treated with caution, but it can provide a useful comparison against figures from the same period in previous years.



Glass other has had very similar tonnage reported in January over the past 3 years, hovering between 23,000 and 24,000. With 24,182 reported in this month’s data, there is a small jump in expected tonnage but with the uncertainty over glass carryover in 2022, it could be a slow start to the year.

Glass remelt has shown a small downward trend for tonnage reported in January. Last year’s slow Glass Remelt production against rising targets led to a tightening of the market as the year went through, so we will watch this material closely.

Overall, materials seem to have dipped when we compare to January figures from 2021, but it is too early to make any longer conclusions at this point.

Martin Trigg-Knight

Head of Compliance at Clarity Environmental


Plastic has also experienced a fall in reported tonnage, both in comparison to December as well as when looking at the same month of previous years. Plastic production currently sits at 46,458, which is almost 8,000 tonnes less than the amount reported in January 2021.

Alongside glass, plastic could be the material to watch for this coming year.



Wood continues the trend, with a drop off in reported tonnage in the initial part of the year. With the festive period and adverse weather impacting the construction sector, this fall in reported tonnage is to be expected. With the tonnage reported for the previous year going way over target, there is currently little concern over the performance of this grade for 2022.


Steel & Aluminium

Both Steel and Aluminium have tonnage reported half the tonnage in January compared to December 2021. Aluminium is largely the same as historical reported figures for January, however the steel tonnage at 12,420 is low in comparison to previous years.



The end of 2021 saw a huge amount of tonnage reported for paper/board, with the grade looking to be well over the target for year. Unsurprisingly, the January tonnage for paper shows a significant drop in comparison, but with just over 200,000 tonnes reported this is still a very strong start for the grade.

Martin Trigg-Knight, Head of Compliance at Clarity Environmental, said of the latest figures:

“Without the confirmed quarterly data and targets, it can be tricky to properly gauge the impact of the reported figures at the beginning of the year. Overall, materials seem to have dipped when we compare to January figures from 2021, but it is too early to make any longer conclusions at this point.

“We look forward to reviewing the quarterly figures when released next month, which will provide a better picture of the starting point for 2021 and how this will impact the market, particularly in light of the Plastic Packaging Tax being introduced in April.”

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