Q4 2016 Packaging Data and Carry Over Data into 2017

3rd March 2017

Gareth Roberts

The Environment Agency have released the official verified Q4 2016 Packaging Recycling Data, and this data is very positive across all material types. Reprocessors and exporter have now submitted their final Q4 2016 returns.

We know that 2016 was a success in that sufficient packaging has been recycled to meet the overall UK targets. We now also know from the data how many PRNs have been carried into 2017 for each material and this carry in data is very important for initial 2017 PRN pricing.

Here are our thoughts by each material type:

  • Paper - Continues to be very strong and tonnages recycled have increased over 2015 levels. With a very generous carry in figure of nearly 250KT for 2017 there should be little problem for target achievement for 2017 and we expect prices to remain stable and low for Paper and consequently General Recycling too.
  • Glass - The drivers for increased Glass Re-melt levels over Glass Other tonnages are working with Glass Re-melt performing very strongly in 2016. However, with the drop in Glass Other tonnages, we are seeing a smaller tonnage being carried into 2017 than we had being carried into 2016 (a 25% drop). However, with static Glass recycling targets in 2017, we should be okay but Glass is certainly a material to keep an eye on especially in terms of Q1 2017 data.
  • Aluminium - Excellent 2016 tonnages and this has led to a carry in figure nearly three times higher than we had at the start of 2016. We expect aluminium targets to be comfortably met in 2017 and for prices to remain stable and relatively low when compared to recent years on Aluminium.
  • Steel - A very good year for Steel recycling in 2016 and just like with Aluminium, we are seeing increased levels of carry in for 2017 which provides an excellent platform for stable and comparatively low Steel prices in 2017.
  • Plastic - Plastic has had an outstanding 2016 even if we are way over reliant on exports to countries such as China. Due to the strong performance of Plastic in 2016, we have a carry in figure for 2017 of nearly 65KT, a fantastic platform for 2017. However, despite the encouraging 2016 data, we have already seen issues for 2017 in terms of possible lower January and February tonnages as a result of shipping container availability and costs, as well as the new Chinese government focus ('Operation Sword') on the quality of Plastic it receives from countries around the world. We predict a weak Q1 2017 set of data for Plastic which will all but eradicate the carry in increases. We then await to see how the rest of the year pans out but of all the materials, Plastic is the one to watch most carefully and it could be another volatile year for the Plastic PRN price. It is also important to remember that the plastic recycling target for 2017 has a 2% increase.
  • Wood - Like Paper, Wood hit its target for the year early in 2016. A fairly strong figure for Q4 by wood which will have helped to contribute to reaching the UK's General Recycling target whilst also maintaining a good carry in figure for 2017. We don't expect too many issues on the Wood front in 2017 and prices should be stable and low.
  • EfW - A notable but expected high performer in 2016, again reached its target early in 2016 and like Paper and Wood. It has a strong carry in figure for 2017 and we expect tonnages of EfW to continue to increase throughout 2017.

Here are the all-important tonnages:

 If you have any questions about the data, please get in touch with our packaging team at packaging@complydirect.com.