Annual paper production has decreased while plastics remain stable

Bales of OCC cardboard for recycling
Bales of OCC cardboard for recycling

According to the office of national statistics big manufacturers of paper and paperboard have seen a 50.2% decrease in their sales since 2008 with a further 24% decrease between 2016 and 2017.

However, the decrease in sales has been offset due to an increase in “other income” from £564,059,000 in 2016 to £1,115,147,000 in 2017, with this extra income coming from manufacturers that sell less than £25,000,000.


This has resulted in the turnover for this industry increasing from £2,471,432,000 in 2016 to £2,775,711,000 in 2017, however, this is still down on the 2008 figure of £3,485,611,000.

The production of newsprint has seen a significant change, as the closure of Aylesford newsprint has meant that between 2014 and 2016 production has dropped from 1,121,197 tonnes to 582,796 tonnes.

This has resulted in the value of this sector falling from £406,826,000 to £195,377,000,a 52% decrease in only 2 years.

Fluctuations in the price of sheets and rolls of paper will have had an effect on the overall value of the paper and paperboard industry, as the price of rollshas dropped since 2014 from £1,296.38 per tonnes to £139.86 per tonnes in 2017.

However, the price of sheets has sky rocketed since 2013 when the price per tonne was at £1,721.38 to £4,322.58 in 2017.

This has meant the volume being produced has shifted as the price of rolls decreased,with the volume increasing from 21,650 tonnes in 2014 to 100,742 tonnes in 2015, a 366.7% increase in one year.

The volume of sheets being produced has fallen given the drastic price increase with only 41,927 tonnes being produced in 2017 compared to the 2013 amount of 97,240 tonnes.

A major growth sector of the paper industry is self-adhesive printed labels where 180,505,758 kilograms were produced in 2017, which is a marked increase from the 102,604,933 kilograms produced in 2013.

This has generated a £129,542,000 increase in valuation for that sector.

Corrugated paper and paperboard is also doing well with a turnover that has increased every year since 2010 where it was at £3,753,534,000, to 2017 where it now sits at £4,668,013,000.

Manufacturers of plastic plates, sheets, tubes and profiles have seen an overall growth in sales from £4,318,127,000 in 2008 to £5,189,175,000 in 2017. This trend has been matched by the total turnover hitting a high of £5,273,284,000 since 2008.

This has been shared by all sectors of the plastic industry with each individual area sales numbers either remaining at a similar level to the previous year or reaching new heights since 2008.

Plastic packing goods has been a noticeable improvement on the industries turnover from £3,897,677,000 in 2016 to £4,377,785,000 in 2017, even though there was only a small improvement in the total sales as they increased by £122,972,000 in the same time period.

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