Provisional data reports materials on track towards packaging waste targets

The Environment Agency has released provisional packaging recycling data for the second quarter of 2021 on the national packaging waste database (NPWD).

The unverified Q2 data shows continued positive progress towards this year’s targets, with all grades sitting in a comfortable position at this halfway point of the year.

Glass is one grade that remains one to watch. Interim data for Q2 tonnage looks relatively similar to last quarter, with glass other reporting 4,000 tonnes less than in Q1 and remelt reporting an additional 44,000. Although currently on target with carry over, consistent tonnages will be needed through the second half of the year to meet targets. There is hope that with hospitality now fully open, and many UK residents choosing to holiday at home, more material may channel through Q3.

"Paper, wood, aluminium and steel all look extremely positive, with all reporting higher tonnages than the previous quarter"

Martin Trigg-Knight, Head of Packaging

Traditionally one of the more volatile grades, plastic has shown a fall in reported tonnage for Q2, down from 308,681 to 288,221. This was expected given the issues around the banning of exports to Turkey earlier in the year. With the decision to overturn that ruling 5 days after it was announced, there is an expectation that it will have little effect on tonnage going forward into the year. Despite the drop this quarter, plastic continues to progress well and is at over 60% of its target with carry over.

Paper has been consistently strong through the optional monthly reporting and this has been reflected in the quarterly data, with paper reporting 67.9% of its 2021 targets with carryover. If paper continues to report over 900,000 per quarter, it would comfortably see them meet the 2021 targets without carryover from the previous year. Wood is one grade guaranteed to meet its target, having already exceeded when carry over is taken into account. This follows a reduced target this year.

Despite reporting a small drop in quarterly reported tonnage, aluminium is sitting comfortably above the 50% target we would want to see at this point of the year, at 65% with carryover.

Martin Trigg-Knight, Head of Packaging at Clarity Environmental, said of the latest figures: “The quarter two data looks extremely positive across all grades, with all now meeting over 50% of the targets for 2021, with carry over. Tonnages reported for both grades of glass, remelt and other, remain steady and have little fluctuation between Q1 and Q2 data.

“The plastic import ban in Turkey earlier in the year had caused concerns about possible instability, with monthly data showing a drop in production, however the second quarterly figures are over double those reported in quarter one. The reversal of the ban in Turkey only occurring days after its implementation. 

“Paper, wood, aluminium and steel all look extremely positive, with all reporting higher tonnages than the previous quarter, reflective of easing restrictions across the UK and industries opening up.”

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