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Glass prices and PRNs have remained stable during the past month, but there have been reports that flint prices have been rising because of the continuing decrease in the amount of clear glass available to reprocessors. According to industry insiders, the quality of this type of glass has taken a particularly bad downturn in the past 12 months, and work on how to improve collection is being undertaken.

One of the key factors in this is the differential PRN which should see more glass going for remelt than intoaggregate. But there are still question marks over how large this differential PRN needs to be to create a real incentive for glass to go into remelt.

At a conference held by the Association for Organics Recycling (AfOR) this month, a document outlining new restrictions on permits was circulated ahead of official publication by the Environment Agency (EA). In the document, the EA stated it will not grant environmental permits for new composting sites located within 250m of ‘sensitive receptors’ such as homes and workplaces, which handle more than 500 tonnes of waste at any one time and carry out composting operations in the open which are “likely to result in the uncontrolled release of high levels of bioaerosols”.

The document also states that the EA will no longer be accepting Site Specific Bioaerosol Risk Assessments (SSBRAs) which, in the past, were submitted when composters applied for a new or “substantially varied” permit within 250m of dwellings or workplaces. The EA felt these assessments had not been sufficiently robust in the past.

The statement added: “We believe that we need to take a precautionary approach and not normally permit
those facilities where we would have expected a quantitative SSBRA until such time as a suitable methodology becomes available.” Proposed facilities processing less than 500 tonnes of waste, operating within a building and situated 250m from dwellings or workplaces will have to provide an SSBRA.

It was also revealed that smaller composters are currently being targeted by the Valuation Office Agency in a bid to re-evaluate their business rates. AfOR believes this could mean that some companies, which have not previously had to pay business rates will go out of business because they will not be able to afford the high tax.

The British Plastic Federation’s Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Group has revealed that the industry has exceeded the Government’s recycling target of 25.5% by 2010 by almost 8%. The EPS Group says a third of expanded polystyrene produced was recycled in 2009, which equates to 5,031 tonnes. Most of this is carried out bybusinesses which either recycle the packaging or collect it from customers. EPS is commonly used as packaging, and can be reprocessed to make items such as picnic benches, fence panels, coat hangers and disposable cameras.

EPS Group chairman David Emes said: “EPS is a single polymer and therefore it is easy to recycle. So there is huge demand for used EPS in the UK. In fact, many recyclers want to increase the tonnage they process.” The group hopes that a recycling scheme to make it easier for householders and businesses to recycle this packagingwill be set up by more local authorities in the UK after a scheme in Guernsey proved very successful.

MRW cotton guide prices increased from $78.32 at the beginning of June to $83.68 by the end. Competition for textiles remains fierce as more local papers report textile thefts from people’s doorsteps for the valuable material.The good weather has encouraged people to shop and, as a result, good trade is being seen at charity textile bins.


Towards the end of the month, international interest in metals picked up after a slack few weeks. In recent weeks,traders predicted further drops in prices for the month ahead as Turkey and India did not look like they would be returning to the market. Mid-month, merchants in Scotland said prices had stabilised but material coming into yards was scarce, meaning some yards had to close for the working week. The north east, however,reported a steady demand for scrap metal but remained wary as the summer shutdowns get ever closer.

Nickel prices remained level during the month as global demand is poor across the globe. The summer shutdown has already kicked in for nickel merchants and activity is not expected to pick up until September. Since the middle of the month, white metals have seen better prices but, overall, the non-ferrous market is looking rather depressed at the moment.

Aluminium recycling rates for beverage cans increased 4% to 55% in 2009, according to data compiled by the aluminium packaging recycling organisation Alupro. In 2008, the rate was 51%. Meanwhile, the aluminium recycling rate for all packaging had also risen from 35% in 2008 to 41.8% in 2009. Alupro does not believe the industry will be able to achieve the Government’s aluminium packaging target of 70%, proposing a more achievable, yet still challenging, target of 65%. Executive director Rick Hindley, speaking at the recent Alupro conference to celebrate 21 years of aluminium recycling, said the barriers to hitting the recycling target include:

  • local authorities being driven by weight-based targets so they focus more on organic waste
  • not enough councils benefit from the value of the material, which stops at waste management firms.

Hindley said industry will therefore have to focus on increasing household waste collections, away from home recycling, and aiding non-beverage can aluminium collections, such as foil and aerosols, at the kerbside. Shanks, Alupro and Jaguar Landrover are working together to recover the 54,000 tonnes of aluminium which is dumped annually in residual waste.

Aluminium ingots have suffered in recent weeks as values were seemingly talked down by lower prices being paid within the EU. Demand for ingots remains strong in the UK but prices are expected to stay low across the summer months.

Recycling output rates were published this month, showing that more waste wood is making its way into the biomass sector. Compiled by the Wood Recyclers Association (WRA), the data showed that wood waste to biomass had increased by a third compared with last year, from 370,000 tonnes in 2008 to 495,000 tonnes in 2009.At the same time, panel board industry product output decreased by 5%, falling to 1.065 million tonnes in 2009from 1.126 million tonnes the previous year. However, total wood product output increased by 4% to 2.111 million tonnes but the WRA called this rise “modest”.

Chairman Clem Spencer said: “The rapid growth in biomass grade is perhaps even greater than we had anticipated at this stage. The real surge lies ahead as more large installations come on-line. Until that happens, we are exporting to divert surpluses away from landfill. When the surge comes, the demand for recycled wood supplies will then be intense, but we will continue to support our valued existing customers.”

The figures support the recent launch of the ‘Make Wood Work’ campaign by the Wood Panel Industry Federation. It aims to lobby the Government to secure the future of the panel board industry, which it feels is facing tough competition from biomass facilities.

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