Applications for emergency storage of recyclate have gone down since the Environment Agency allowed operators to stockpile materials.
In November, the EA offered recycling operators the option of extra storage for a six month period, in answer to concerns about the build up of recyclate tonnages.
But, despite a glut of stories in the national press about widespread stockpiling, applications for recyclate storage have gone down on average.
Applications are down
A spokesman for the EA said: In 2008, applications to register to store low risk recyclable materials at a designated site were 18.5 a week on average.
"Following Octobers market downturn we brought out new guidance in November for operators to store extra recyclates. There was a small upturn in applications in the first few weeks. We had 29 applications one week and 27 another. But on average the applications were 17.5 a week, less than before the guidance was announced.
From the start a lot of waste operatives will have had quite a bit of storage capacity at their permitted sites. Storing recyclates [before processing or transport to buyers] for a period of time is part of the normal process. A lot of processors have probably just used their existing capacity, so they have not needed to apply for extra storage. Of course there may be some stockpiling, but the numbers of applications for extra storage dont stack up to show people wanting to store excess material.
He added that EA guidance encourages operators to keep material moving and to take material outlet opportunities. He also highlighted the findings of the Waste & Resources Action Programme that prices are stabilisingand even starting to recover. The whole situation seems to be settling down a bit, he added.