Quarterly data released for Q1

2022 Q1 quarterly data shows lower PRN production across recycling as a whole than we saw in Q1 2021, with a difference of 189,000T.

This shows a good response to the higher priced PRNs of Q4 last year, and the higher starting PRN prices of 2022. The higher PRN pricing may be necessary to further drive recycling in difficult export and energy markets – although overall production is now ahead of target at 26.78%, this surplus is coming almost entirely from a late submission boost in the quarterly data from just one grade (wood).



Paper shows a slightly lower production than Q1 last year, so despite being ahead of where it needs to be to cover just the paper target, it is not strong enough at this point to give recycler’s confidence in General Recycling and so, the Paper PRN price has risen, and this may be necessary to incentivise and prioritise recycling of UK packaging.



Glass remains a grade with potential concerns. The confirmed carryover for 2021 has given a much-needed boost of confidence. Ideally, we would like to see the aggregate reporting over 40,000 tonnes each month and whilst we achieved that in March, January has put aggregate behind this overall.

Glass Remelt had a very strong March when factoring in the boost from Q1 data with 147,267T – whilst this represents a significant improvement, the weaker production earlier in the year leaves us behind target with PRN prices still increasing to encourage further recycling.



The quarterly recycling figures saw a small increase to the plastic recycling levels, putting us just 3,455T behind target for Q1. With several plastic recyclers yet to submit for Q1 we could expect a further boost but uncertainties around fuel prices and logistics means that the plastic price is currently heavily fluctuating.



With a massive boost in the quarterly submissions (from 80,000T up to 150,000T), wood is now far surpassing its monthly requirement for 2022 and closing in on where it needs to be at the end of Q2. If production continues at this rate, Wood should exceed its target and contribute towards the General Recycling obligation too.



Tonnage reported for April saw a significant boost compared to what was originally reported in March, up to 17,444T. This puts us on target and just 52T behind Q1 2021, so we could expect Aluminium to see a similar path to last year.



Steel is the grade struggling most this year which is reflected in the increasing costs – the Q1 figures still show us 19,332T behind target despite a much stronger March.

This is certainly the grade everyone will be looking at in April’s data to get a better understanding of how likely we are to catch up against our deficit.

"The PRN system’s rises and falls in price can be difficult for producers to budget for, but this Q1 data is a good demonstration of why these difficult movements are necessary."

Martin Trigg-Knight

Martin Trigg-Knight, Head of Compliance at Clarity Environmental, commented: “The PRN system’s rises and falls in price can be difficult for producers to budget for, but this Q1 data is a good demonstration of why these difficult movements are necessary. There are times when recycling is quite simply more expensive to achieve, often due to global market conditions such as shipping, regulation, war, and material availability overseas. It is in these times that this difficult volatility allows the UK to continue the essential business of recycling even in the most challenging of global conditions.”

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