April data released

The monthly data for April, published on May 10th, shows low production across most PRN grades apart from wood. As a result, PRN prices have risen, which normally facilitates an increase in recycling figures in response. Reprocessors are currently not legally required to report their recycling figures, so monthly data should be treated with caution as unfinished/incomplete. However, with the national obligation still set to increase when several large producers submit their annual returns, there is currently considerable pressure in the market.


As it stands paper is behind target. This is surprising after a strong year for paper recycling in 2021. April recycling was weak (191,597T) and reached only 74% of the monthly requirement, this is due increased cost of exporting, alongside the impact of the Russia/Ukraine conflict.  

Paper received a considerable boost in the quarterly reporting for Q1, so it is possible that much of April’s paper has gone unreported – we may therefore see an increase at the end of the quarter. 


Whilst both grades of glass remain behind their target for April recycling, the obligation is significantly reduced compared to 2021 (1,748,095, a 9.5% drop) meaning that notable ground has been gained. However, there are still large producers to report across all grades and glass reprocessing/production are energy intensive processes, so the price continues to rise.  


Despite a significant boost in the Q1 data, a poor April (68,786T, compared to 116,315T April 2021) has left plastic trailing behind its target and the price is rising consistently in response.  

As a heavily exported grade, feedback from the industry is that the difficulty with moving plastic is coming from export container costs and availability, which are being stretched due to the Russia/Ukraine conflict.  


Despite the likelihood that there are still major producers left to report, the wood requirement has already increased by 15,000T, so we will see an increased requirement for 2022 overall. 

Whilst wood itself remains significantly ahead of meeting its obligation, when you factor in the General Recycling requirement gap (typically fulfilled by Paper & Wood), it becomes clear why we are seeing the wood price rise to be closer to the paper price.  


Although April failed to hit Aluminium’s monthly requirement by 2556T, it remains one of the few grades which is currently ahead of its target for 2022. However, the poor month has led to a drastic price increase based on fears that we will continue trending down in the coming months, despite Aluminium typically seeing a significant boost with the quarterly data submission.


Steel is currently at just 77% of the total recycled by this point in 2021, representing a significant drop-off in steel being reprocessed. Despite this, the market around steel seems to have stabilised but remains under significant stress. 

"It appears that there are several large producers still to report and if the final obligation is increased, we could expect to see further pressure on prices and availability. "

Martin Trigg- Knight

Martin Trigg-Knight, Head of Compliance at Clarity Environmental, stated:

“The April recycling data reported in early May is best viewed in the context of the national obligation figures released 13th May and whilst these show a lower obligation across most grades, PRN production is still behind. It appears that there are several large producers still to report and if the final obligation is increased, we could expect to see further pressure on prices and availability.  

Whilst PRN prices are currently high in response to the lower production figures, the normal system response to these higher prices is an increase in recycling as the PRN subsidy takes effect, so there is a possibility of volumes increasing and prices softening towards the end of year.” 

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