Recycling export trends: April to June


This guide looks at past exports from UK to worldwide destinations.


3 year average monthly global export trend***


Compared to previous month








Apr       -10.16%       

May      -0.67%         

Jun       +9.06%        


There isn’t an obvious pattern to June exports over the past three years, although it can be a strong month.

In June 2017, 264,373 tonnes of OCC was exported from the UK worldwide, up 18.73% on May’s 222,652 tonnes.

However, June 2016 saw a complete reversal with just 172,881 tonnes exported, down 9.66% on May’s 191,369 tonnes.

Yet June 2015 was more like last year with 230,750 tonnes sent abroad, compared to just 195,377 tonnes in May. This was an increase of 18.1%, which was very similar to 2017 in percentage terms.


On the surface, the average amount of exports over the last three years looks barely unchanged, but the picture underneath is a little different.

In May 2017, global exports fell by 10.69% to 222,652 tonnes from 249,329 tonnes in April.

But May 2016 saw a different pattern with exports in May rising by 13.94% to an admittedly lower 191,369 tonnes from 167,946 tonnes in April.

May 2015 though was down 5.26% to 195,377 from 206,238 tonnes in April.


April is generally a weaker month for exports of OCC, probably as a result of Easter mostly falling within this month causing disruption to market patterns.

However, in April 2017 exports of OCC were still at a very strong 249,329 tonnes despite being down on March’s 268,915 tonnes.

The same cannot be said of April 2016 when just 167,946 tonnes was exported globally compared to 218,284 tonnes in the preceding March.

April 2015 was effectively no change on March when 206,238 tonnes was exported from 206,545 tonnes in the month before.

Polymers of ethylene**

3 year average monthly global export trend***

Compared to previous month

Apr       -1.70  %       

May      +0.54%        ↑

Jun       -0.09%         ↓


On the surface, June looks largely unchanged on May with global exports averaging a decline of just 0.09% over the past three years.

But the underlying picture is somewhat different.

In June 2017, just 39,177 tonnes was exported from the UK worldwide but this was a 17.77% increase on May’s very low 33,280 tonnes. This also represents the period when National Sword inspections in China kicked in.

However, June 2016 was not much better with just 44,340 tonnes shipped abroad, down 19.39% on May’s 55,009 tonnes.

But June 2015 was largely stable on the month before with 62,157 tonnes exported, just 1.32% better than May’s 61,344 tonnes.


There appears little difference between May and April when comparing the average for the last three years, but the reality is somewhat different.

In May 2017, exports worldwide were 33,280 tonnes, down 17.43% on April’s 40,308 tonnes.

May 2016 saw 55,009 tonnes exported down just 3.08% on the month before.

But May 2015 saw a rather large 61,344 tonnes exported, up 22,16% on April’s 50,216 tonnes.


Export volumes in April tend to be broadly similar to those seen in March, according to the last three years.

Clearly, the China situation may change patterns this year.

In April 2017, global exports of this commodity code were down to 40,308 tonnes from 42,057 tonnes in March.

April 2016 saw a very strong 56,762 tonnes exported, but this was still lower than March’s 58,587 tonnes.

But in 2015, April was slightly up with 50,216 tonnes exported compared to 49,153 tonnes in March.


* Based on HMRC export and dispatch data for the commodity code 4707100 – recovered waste and scrap paper or paperboard of unbleached kraft paper, corrugated paper or corrugated paperboard. This data includes all exports from UK to EU destinations and non-EU destinations.

** Based on HMRC export and dispatch data for the commodity code 3915100 – waste, parings, scrap, of polymers of ethylene. This data includes all exports from UK to EU destinations and non-EU destinations.

*** The export tonnages as recorded by HMRC and collated by REB Market Intelligence are converted into a percentage difference between the two months mentioned above. An average of this data is given and then an up or down indicator for this average is given. However, there may be variance in the annual data, and an explanation is given above. This data is given as a indicator of the possible trend that may be seen in the upcoming months, but past performance cannot be used as an indicator of future performance. Therefore, Hanicke Robins Sanderson Ltd can accept no liability for commercial decisions that may have been based on this data, or any other data given in this report.

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