wever, the position on glass was fairly tight with less than 1% surplus caused mainly by the weather, but also by Nationwide Recycling’s suspension in early December. However, the former means that Q1 in 2011 is lightly to be a strong quarter as council collections caught up in January.
Glass December carryover tonnage reflected the shortage with only 12.2k tonnes (0.7% of total) being taken into 2011. All other materials saw strong carryover particularly aluminium at 3.6k tonnes (6% of total).
The main question now, therefore, must be whether there are likely to be any pinch points for 2011. As always, this is a bit like the Government’s growth predictions – complete guesswork. The flat targets – apart from the slight rise in plastic and steel – should mean that 2011 will be a doddle. But there are a couple of risk areas, the main one being the likely increase in obligation this year given the strong economic performance last year compared to 2009. A 3% increase in reported glass and plastic packaging, for instance, COULD lead to extremely tight positions for both. In theory, further growth in recycling should ease this, but this may not happen because:
a. Councils may cut back on their recycling collections under current budgetary constraints – although they would need to balance any savings achieved on collection costs with increased landfill costs.
b. There are fewer registered recyclers this year than last – especially in plastic – because of low PRN prices.
Therefore, all eyes will be on the first quarter data for 2011 which is due to be released on22 April and the first cut of the obligated data which is due on 17 May. Quite why it should take this long to publish the obligated data when it is all submitted electronically by 15 April is hard to understand, but that is when the EA are required to publish under their KPIs.
The data table at the bottom shows a summary of the data whilst the tables above that show the material recycling growth year on year and the split between UK and export. What must be slightly worrying for the Government – and reinforces the point in a. above – is the fall in recycling levels, the first time since the Packaging Regulations began.