Q2 packaging data shows difficult times ahead for glass, plastics and steel recycling


The newly released packaging data for Q2 has suggested that a difficult second half of the year is likely for glass, plastics and steel.

To meet its targets, glass required an average of 410,079 tonnes per quarter after the December 2011 carry over is taken into account, but the second quarter figures revealed a very low 349,231 was collected following 379,463 in Q1.


This means that 968,894 tonnes are required in the second half (or 484,447 per quarter).

Plastics also faces a difficult challenge with only 135,170 tonnes collected for recycling in Q2 following 127,038 in Q1 (again including the carry over). This means to meet the target of 601,023 (or 144,777 per quarter for the year), then 338,815 will be needed in the second half, which averages at 169,407.5 per quarter.

Steel may also be tight with only 75,013 tonnes collected compared to the 82,646 tonnes per quarter needed. However, steel benefitted from a strong Q1 with 92,565 collected.

360 Environmental director Phil Conran said that the gap needed to make up the glass and plastic targets is “huge”. He added: “The amount needed is not possible, especially as people will look to hold onto December tonnage to meet next year’s targets.

“I’ve heard some rumours that some are waiting for the price of plastics to go up and so are stockpiling material. But this doesn’t happen with glass as people don’t tend to keep hold of it. But reprocessing of glass has also fallen considerably so it must be going somewhere.”

As a result of these figures, there has been an immediate increase in the price of some PRNs. According to Scrap-ex, glass has increased from £17.50 from £15 on Friday. Plastic has risen to £23.50 from £21 on Friday and steel has increased £1 from Friday’s £10 to £11 on Monday.


UK PRN Requirement   Carry Q1 Q2
Paper 2,503,296 145,200 813,454 768,026
Glass 1,697,588 57,272 379,463 349,231
Aluminium 60,298 3,661 16,401 14,024
Steel 352,077 21,493 92,565 75,013
Plastic 601,023 21,914 127,038 135,170
Wood 234,537 19,167 128,288 183,861
EfW 480,571 53,877 206,488 184,632