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Councils told not to panic over loss of recycled paper revenue

Gloucestershire recycler Printwaste has said councils will have to get used to lower revenues as paper is sent for export in the wake of the Aylesford Newsprint collapse.

MRW analysis of market prices for news & pams show around a £30 per tonne drop since the Kent mill went under.

Printwaste takes around 30,000 tonnes of waste paper from South Hams District Council and two other unnamed authorities. The company is now selling the reprocessed material to markets in the Far East, including China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia, which currently offer more per tonne than in the UK.

But the company estimated the three councils will lose around £900,000 from the drop in price.

Geof Robins, Printwaste operations director, told MRW the remaining two UK mills, Palm Paper and UPM, would step up production to some extent but added: “In the main, that material is going to go elsewhere.

“They have got the pick of the market, which enables them to offer lower prices. I’ve spoken to both those mills and currently their offers for news & pams is a bit less than we can get if we sell it to the export market.

“Our duty has to be to try to secure the best deal we can for the councils we work for.

“The overall message is ‘don’t panic’. Local authorities are going to be sore because they’ve just had a lot of money wiped off their revenue from recycling but, actually, they should stay positive. They are not going to get stuck with any stock or have to do any landfilling, and that’s the main thing.

“They have just got to get used to the idea that they’re not going to get as much money from recycled paper.”

Robins said that Printwaste has itself taken a considerable financial loss because it was owed money by Aylesford Newsprint.

“Being realistic, we’re not going to recover that. We have had to take that on the chin, as have other companies in our position.”

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