Final 2016 monthly packaging recycling data published

10 FEBRUARY 2017

The Advisory Committee on Packaging has been working with the environmental Agencies to simplify technical requirements within the packaging waste regulations and improve data transparency. One of the measures that was introduced was monthly reporting of data entered by accredited reprocessors and exporters. Whilst not a statutory requirement and therefore not necessarily complete each month, it has helped the market understand trends and flows.

Normally, the final recycling and obligation data for a year is not published until mid-March, but the EA's data department in Sheffield has been hugely helpful in now publishing the final monthly data for 2016 as well as the final obligation figure. Whilst these still have to be verified, they show the likely end of year position and the likely carry forward tonnages into 2017.

Overall, the results are strong with a 6.8% increase in reported recycling compared to 2015. Plastic and aluminium growth were especially strong at 18.4% and 14.2% respectively but glass recycling has continued to stagnate. What is also encouraging is that the number of registrations rose from 6961 in 2015 to a record 7008 in 2016.

Of more interest is likely to be the comparison of recycling to obligation and it can be seen that both steel and plastic has particularly strong 4th quarters - extrapolating from the final total tonnage - whilst glass was quite weak.

This % demand column then gives an indication of likely carry over suggesting that for plastic, there could be up to 70k tonnes of excess to take into 2017. For steel, whilst there is a similar tonnage surplus, only December's tonnage can be carried forward suggesting a third of the 104k tonnes.

We won't get the final verified data for at least another month and will have to wait until 22 April to get the first quarter's data for 2017. But if these figures reflect the final position, then it looks like we are in a strong position to meet the likely 2017 targets.