Q3 packaging recycling data leads to plastic price drop

The provisional packaging recycling and export data for Q3 has been published on the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD), revealing positive results for most grades and a stronger than expected return for plastic.

The latest figures, which report the amount of packaging waste recycled or exported between July and September 2017 have confirmed that most materials are on track to meet their annual targets, with many grades experiencing a rise in recycling levels during this quarter.

The performance of plastic and paper recycling in Q3 were of particular concern for this period, with plastic packaging recovery note (PRN) prices having risen sharply through the year. Finally, following the latest data, and now at 77 per cent of its annual recycling target (82 per cent of its net requirement), the price of plastic PRNs have started to fall away this week in response to the data.

Chris Taylor, Commercial Manager at Clarity Environmental said: “Plastic has been the most volatile grade so far this year, with a great deal of uncertainty around Chinese imports and Operation National Sword. Prices have remained high despite a consistent and positive performance throughout the year, suggesting that the situation has not been as severe as was feared, and other avenues are being found for exports. The Q3 data confirms that plastic has once again performed beyond expectations, and at 77 per cent of its annual target, there are strong indications that this year’s obligation will be met with ease. We saw an immediate response to the data, with plastic prices dropping significantly today."

Paper, which experienced a drop in recycling in Q2 has recovered in this latest quarter, although the grade still remains below the levels of last year. Despite the concerns, paper sits just short of its net requirement for 2017. It is likely that contributions from other grades will be required to contribute to this year’s general recycling obligation, and with production strong in steel and wood, there is less reliance on paper for this year. Paper PRN prices have, however, been rising over the past month so this grade remains one to watch.

Aluminium and steel were the only grades to have experienced a drop in recycling from the last quarter, although at 85 and 97 per cent of their net obligation, there is little cause for concern for now.

Overall, the data is fairly positive and should help to reduce any major volatility in the recycling market. Moves from China will need to be closely followed to see what impact the import restrictions will have on plastic and paper in 2018.

Whilst the data provides a good initial insight into the current UK recycling performance and trends, it is important to note that the verified data will not be released until 9 November 2017.

Learn more

Clarity has been buying and selling packaging recovery notes (PRNs) since our business started in 2002. We are now one of the largest and most experienced open market traders of PRNs.  To talk to our team about buying or selling any grade of packaging recovery note (PRN), contact us on 0845 129 7177.

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