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January Packaging Waste Data Reveals Strong Start To the New Year

The Environment Agency released the January packaging waste data on Monday 10 February 2020.

Although the data is often incomplete at this time of the year, it does provide a useful comparison against the figures from the same period in 2019.

When compared to the January 2019 figures, the latest report shows strong production for all grades except wood. Plastic is particularly positive, with 49,241 tonnes recorded for export or reprocessing, which is significantly higher than the 29,192 tonnes reported at the same point in 2019. Aluminium recorded 8,116 for export or reprocessing in January 2020, compared with 5,977 tonnes last year. And steel recorded 22,737 for export or reprocessing, compared with 9,186 tonnes in January 2019.

Wood is one material that has seen a drop against the same month last year, however the quarterly packaging waste data usually sees a substantial addition to the figures for this material.

The January monthly figures were released alongside the full monthly data for 2019. This shows that all PRN grades hit annual targets last year, and that the key problem grades – namely aluminium and plastic – have gone into the new year with substantial carry over.

Martin Trigg-Knight, Head of Packaging at Clarity Environmental, said:

“Whilst it is important to remember that these are tentative figures, we can see that many grades are going into the 2020 compliance year with some very healthy carry over. With that in mind, and in comparison to the same month last year, it does look like a very positive start to 2020 for aluminium, plastic and steel, and a healthy one for other grades.

“Positive January figures are particularly important given the increase in targets this year, with the plastic production target increasing by 2 per cent in 2020. However, paper is one grade to be watched closely, with the potential for the paper export market to be impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Glass could also be tighter this year, with exports currently slower than usual.

“We are cautiously optimistic about the months ahead. The data shows that the PRN market has worked in the way it is designed to do, with higher prices encouraging an increase in reprocessing and export to meet the UK obligation.”

Martin added that whilst some PRN prices have responded to the positive figures, higher prices remain for other materials:

“Pressure on aluminium has eased, and the price has softened slightly. Steel prices have been fairly level following a positive 2019 and start to the new year. However, plastic PRN prices have remained high despite the good production figures, which suggests that either the current price is needed to maintain exports in a constricted market, or that prices will fall as the year beds in.”

To talk to a member of our team about our Comply with Clarity packaging compliance scheme, get in touch on 0845 129 7177 or visit our website for more information.

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