Q3 Unverified Recycling Data Released

22nd October 2018

Ash Clay

The unverified Q3 recycling data has been released by the Environment Agency today (22 October 2018) which holds a large importance when determining the UK’s recycling performance and PRN market

We have provided a summary as follows of each material's recycling performance indicated by the data below, along with graphs showing the percentage of recycled material against the targets using the latest UK obligation data.

Please note – PRNs generated in December can be used in either the year they are generated or the following compliance year. ‘Carry-in’ PRNs are PRNs generated in December that were not required in the compliance year they were raised in so they are carried forward for use in the following year. Please see above graphs showing Q3 recycling data both with and without carry in tonnages taken into consideration.


Paper had its best performance of the year so far with 926,781 tonnes of waste recycled. Paper now stands at 88% of its overall UK recycling target despite us being at the ¾ stage of the year. Much like previous quarters, the good performance is helping to contribute to the UK’s General Recycling obligation. The General Recycling factor alongside continued export struggles are likely to sustain current market pressures along with high prices.


Glass Remelt performed at a similar level to the previous two quarters of the year with 326,070 tonnes recycled and like the previous quarters Glass Remelt is having to prop-up total glass numbers as Glass Other recycling levels remain poor. On its own, Glass Remelt hits 90% without carry in, however, when Glass Other is brought into consideration the overall glass level sits behind target at 73% without using carry in tonnages. After Q2, Glass was being tipped to possibly help contribute to General Recycling towards the end of the year, however, based on the Q3 data this suggests it is currently struggling to reach its own specific target. Market pressure and prices are expected to remain high.


Aluminium has had its best performance of the year which was much needed as PRN prices have been relatively high. The positive quarter saw almost 28,000 tonnes recycled which has helped Aluminium reach 79% of its target without taking carry in tonnages into consideration.


Another strong quarter for Steel with 103,492 tonnes of recycling. This is a very similar level to both of the previous quarters of the year which were also positive in terms of recycling level. Steel already sits at 90% of its overall target without carry in tonnages which means this material (along with paper) will be a contributor to the UK General Recycling for 2018. Steel will remain in high demand and prices will remain high due to the UK’s increased dependence on this material to fill General Recycling.


Plastic and the Plastic PRN market has been volatile throughout the year and this trend may be set to continue as Q3 is currently its lowest quarter of the year. 241,117 tonnes recycled sees Plastic reach 73% of its overall UK tonnages when carry in isn’t taken into consideration. As the data is currently still unverified, it shows that there are still several large Plastic reprocessor and exporters yet to declare their recycling data and therefore, this overall tonnage has the potential to increase. Despite this improvement possibility, Plastic will still remain very tight to its target and uncertainty and continued pressures in the market will likely continue.


Wood figures have been low throughout 2018 which has caused record highs in terms of Wood PRN prices. Q3 recycling shows a reasonable quarter with 112,411 tonnes recycled, however, there is still ground to make-up after a poor year to date. Currently, without carry in tonnages Wood is still behind target at 73% so like most other materials the PRN prices are likely to stay relatively high.

Energy From Waste (Recovery)

Another positive quarter sees EfW at 87% of target and the likelihood that it will hit its target with ease at the end of Q4.

Due to some materials still remaining behind target, it’s likely that it’ll be very tight for these materials to reach their overall material specific targets by the end of the year. This means carry in tonnages are likely to contribute to ensure these materials hit their targets for 2018. The use of carry in tonnages will mean less tonnage will be available to roll over into 2019, resulting in the UK starting on a ‘back foot’ and prices are likely to be much higher for Q1 in 2019 than they have been in the same period of previous years.

We will continue to monitor and analyse the data and provide a further update when all reprocessors and exporters have reported on their figures and the verified figures are confirmed in early November.

If you have any questions in the meantime please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our packaging team - call 01756 794951 or email packaging@complydirect.com

We are hosting a PRN update webinar in November for packaging members; see below for full details and to register your free place. 

PRN Market Update - November 2018 (Members only)

Tuesday 27 November 2018 at 10:00am

During this webinar, we will aim to enhance your understanding of the market dynamics currently determining PRN prices by sharing an in-depth update regarding the current PRN market.  Specifically, we'll provide a detailed analysis on the UK's Q3 verified recycling data by material and additionally, an initial PRN price forecast for 2019.

Register your free place on the webinar here