May data released

May’s monthly recycling production report shows improved production across most grades compared to April. However, we need to keep in mind that the final national requirement 2022 is likely is likely to be higher than currently showing, as some large producers are still to report their production tonnes.

Paper and board

May saw a huge upswing for paper and board with a month on month increase of over 100KT (April 191KT, May 296KT). This lines up with the Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) price increasing, which likely motivated reprocessors and exporters to recycle more paper. Paper failed to meet its monthly requirement in April, so a strong May has brought us back on target.

Glass Remelt

Glass Remelt had a really strong May (120KT). With the recycled tonnage almost doubled compared to April (66KT). Factoring in the updated obligation, glass remelt is now just 1,599T behind its May requirement. The increased tonnage is likely due to increased feedstock from the hospitality industry, recyclers diverting crushed glass to remelters and further motivated by the high PRN price.

Glass Other

Despite Glass Other having a better month than it did in April (April 21KT, May 31KT), it continues to fall further behind on its requirement to date. Industry feedback suggests glass recyclers have been diverting more glass to remelters who are looking for additional feedstock due to the high glass remelt PRN prices.


Aluminium’s May tonnages were positive (10,306T), as they were last month (8191T) and so, it remains very close to its target for the year to date (13T from target). However due to a perceived lack of availability the price continues to rise. Aluminium is one of the grades we often see get a boost in the quarterly data when large reproccessors report.


May is just the second month this year that steel has met its monthly requirement (25KT). This is likely due to some large reproccessors registering late in the year, and this month being the first to reflect the late registrations in the data. In spite of this improvement, steel remains 17KT behind target against the year to date requirements. It will be interesting to see how much of an impact the quarterly data has on how far behind steel is.


May has been a reasonable month for plastic (87KT) in light of the updated obligation, and a 20KT improvement on April – however no ground was gained, and it remains behind target to a similar level as last month (-18KT).

The gradual improvement of issues with shipping containers and logistics costs may be why we have seen an improvement in plastic from the previous month. However, the cost of exporting is still being impacted by global events such as the conflict in Ukraine, related sanctions and continued pressure on fuel prices worldwide.


Wood had a strong performance in May (30KT), as it has consistently throughout the year (currently 63KT ahead of requirement). However, when factoring in general recycling requirements, wood and paper are still not making up the tonnage to fulfil this grade. General recycling remaining behind is likely the reason we are still seeing pressure on paper and wood prices in spite of strong individual performances.

"Despite this month-on-month improvement May 2022 still had a weaker performance then previous Mays. This shows the economic impacts of the Russia/Ukraine conflict."

Martin Trigg- Knight

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

“There were significant increases in recycling across almost all grades from April 2022 to May 2022 (430KT to 601KT), and this shows a PRN system responding to low recycling rates in Q1 with higher PRN values – these increased PRN prices offsetting the increased logistics and energy costs, and in turn increased recycling rates in Q2. 

Despite this month-on-month improvement May 2022 still had a weaker performance then previous Mays (including those affected by international Covid lockdowns). This shows the economic impacts of the Russia/Ukraine conflict. With increased demand still expected, and international instability, we expect current volatility to continue for the near future.” 

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