Recent packaging recovery note figures for quarter two of 2010 showed that glass packaging tonnages have risen to 472,917 tonnes from 396,720 tonnes in quarter one, an increase of 19.2%. According to the experts, a rise as significant as this is usually seen in quarter three, so the growth was larger than normal for the time of year.
It was a quirk which may have been caused by the World Cup, causing more consumption of bottled beer and therefore higher recycling rates. Another reason seems to be that more aggregate companies have come on-stream who are continuing to collect glass.
It seems that more organic waste recyclers are turning their hands to anaerobic digestion (AD). This technology appears to be attracting increasing attention from across the industry. In-vessel composting (ICV) specialist TEG said it was to build its first AD plant, with investment from Albion Ventures. To be situated in Perth, Scotland, next to the company’s IVC facility, the plant will generate 0.7MW of electricity and 0.25MW of heat. Meanwhile, PDM Group has sold 10% of its company to Saria Bio-Industries in bid to increase AD capacity in the UK.
However, some investors have mentioned that there is not as much activity in the AD sector as first expected, largely because such food waste recycling plants are seen as being too hard a project to undertake. According to some experts in the investment industry, AD contracts tend to be short-term, three- to five-year agreements, which makes them less attractive to investors. So IVC, a more developed technology in its own right, is still seen as a desirable investment, despite the hype over AD.
But investors breathed a sigh of relief after the Government made a significant announcement last month that it would ‘grandfather’ - or fix - renewable obligation certificates for energy-from-waste (EfW) facilities. It means that investors finally have reassurance that their investment in AD and biomass facilities is safe. Before this announcement, some EfW facilities had been stalled because of the lack of clarity surrounding the payback, which made them a much riskier prospect for investors.
The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has again attempted to boost the UK’s non-bottle mixed plastics recycling infrastructure with a £2m loan fund. Mixed plastics such as yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and plastic food trays are notoriously difficult to recycle. But following WRAP’s report on mixed plastics, it has tried to spark interest from investors in the material.
Last year, Greenstar was awarded a £2m grant to build a mixed plastics recycling facility at its plant in Redcar, Teeside, which is to begin commissioning towards the end of the year. WRAP hopes that the loan fund will provide a continued boost to the plastics infrastructure in the UK. But the changed financing to the programme will mean that WRAP will get the £2m back, which can then be re-invested to further support the mixed plastics market. The organisation hopes that investors willing to take on this emerging market will apply for the loan and add to the UK’s infrastructure.
Meanwhile, plastic bottle recycling continues to improve as data from Petcore (PET Containers Recycling Europe) has found that the amount of bottles collected across Europe in 2009 increased by more than 8% on the previous year. Meanwhile, the collection rate [the amount of bottles collected against those produced] in 2009 rose to 48.4%, which was an increase of 2.5%.
Further news that less material was exported to the Far East in 2009 than in 2008 should please those in the industry relying on PET bottles. They spoke out recently against the quantity of bottles being shipped to China, which is having an adverse affect on the European industry.
The end of July saw the traditional renewal of supply contracts at mills for their arisings to the end of the year. It is expected that because of competition among dealers for textile by-products, material prices are expected to increase.
The summer shutdowns have been causing trade to drop even further these past few weeks, and it is expected to stay this way until September sees activity start up once again. The delayed announcement of the month’s prices also made for frustration among merchants as they were uncertain of the true value of their material.
When prices changed to show a drop of around £5-£10 across grades, traders were not surprised but became confused as export market prices moved up. There were rumours that those in the Midlands were holding on to material in an attempt to force domestic prices up. But there was no need because, just a week later, industry traders pushed prices back to where they were, driving them up £5-£10.
In other news, when secretary for business, innovation and skills Vince Cable visited Corus’ beam plant in Teesside he revealed that he felt that talks surrounding the nearby mothballed plant would end in “potentially good news” and that the outcome would soon be known. Media reports have been rife that the steelworks is talking to Thai steel producer SSI to acquire the mothballed plant, but Corus has been unwilling to confirm this.
Following price falls across all non-ferrous grades, the past month has seen them remain steady as merchants and yards across Europe close for the hotter months, curbing volatility in the markets. But, more recently, traders have noticed that demand is outweighing supply, indicating forthcoming price increases in September when trading returns to normal, although aluminium ingot traders feel this price rise may come sooner.
Nickels and alloys are suffering because the steelworks are keeping their inventories low during the summer slowdown, which is in turn squeezing the terms of purchase for nickels and alloys traders. But all merchants are expecting markets to be subdued until September.
Aluminium beverage can prices fell twice during the past month, with loose and flattened cans falling from £720 to £625 a tonne and baled cans down to £695 a tonne from £770 a tonne mid-month. Then, just two weeks later, loose and flattened cans dropped again to £600 per tonne, while baled cans are now trading at £650 per tonne.
The drops seem to be a result of the slowdown in trade in the summer months as more people take their holidays, and those non-ferrous scrap traders in the hotter European countries put down their tools for a few weeks until the hot weather passes.
Issues concerning wood recyclers about the T6 permitting regulations, which seem to stop wood recyclers from accepting treated wood of any kind into their yards are ongoing. But the Wood Recyclers Association (WRA) has told MRW it will be commenting officially on these terms imminently, following discussions with the Environment Agency.
In further legislation news regarding wood, the WRA is also expecting to receive the risk assessments for the wood quality protocol.