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MarketWatch

Glass
The glass industry is continuing to try to extract as much glass from the market for remelt as possible. Some recyclers are still finding glass quality from materials recycling facilities to be a challenge.

Organics
It looks as though the Environment Agency (EA) could allow biocompost - which is not created from source- segregated organic waste - to be spread on agricultural land for the first time. Currently, it can only be used in landfill restoration or dumped into landfill.

Environmental consultancy ADAS has been working with Leicester City Council and its waste contractor Biffa to conduct assessments and analysis of the biocompost product from its mechanical biological treatment (MBT) and anaerobic digestion facilities. It is thought the comprehensive study will mean that the EA could provide a bespoke environmental permit allowing use on agricultural land. The EA said it could not comment on individual cases and that anyone is permitted to apply for a bespoke permit.

A spokesperson added: “If we receive an application for permit to spread compost-like output from a specific MBT source at a specific site for a specific type of crop, then we will consider that application on its merits.” If a permit were to be approved, it could be a trigger for other companies in a similar situation which cannot use their biocompost to the full.

Plastics
J&A Young opened its first food-grade plastic bottle recycling facility this month, demanding 30,000 tonnes of PET plastic bottles a year. It will produce food- grade PET pellet and hot-washed PET flake. The material will go back into PET bottles and packaging in the UK to create a closed loop process. The new facility may put more pressure on already tight PET bottle supplies in the UK. But Jayplas operations director Mike Maxwell explained to MRW that the facility will use pre-sorted PET bottles from its Mansfield sorting facility, along with direct supplies from local authorities and waste management companies, so supplies will be abundant.

With market research by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) showing demand for food-grade polymers currently outstripping supply, it seems companies moving into the food-grade recycling sector are rather savvy. The rate of demand has apparently led to imports of food-grade plastic from the EU which is, in turn, pushing up the price of food-grade recycled PET and HDPE, which are comparable with virgin polymer prices.

Interestingly, the WRAP report found that UK exports of recovered plastic increased from 548,000 tonnes in 2007 to 711,000 tonnes in 2009 with 90% of this heading to China. However, as the UK’s share of Chinese imports makes up just 10%, it is clear that the UK still relies much more heavily on China than China does on the UK.

Textiles
News of the implications of whether local authorities should have the power to register charity doorstep textile collectors is expected soon, following an assessment by the Office of the Third Sector. It seems this direction is needed soon because local authorities are ready to flush out bogus charity textile collectors in their area. Some councils are already implementing their own collection policies, with North West Leicestershire District Council publicly announcing that it will not issue collection licences to textile businesses which do not donate at least 75% of its profits from door-to-door collections to charity.

Textile collectors are still facing materials theft and crime on what seems to be an increasing frequent scale. Not-for-profit organisation Planet Aid told MRW it has suffered thefts of five of its textile banks since the beginning of the year. Local police believe the banks have been taken to sell on as scrap metal.

Metals
Ferrous

News that Corus may have found a buyer for its mothballed Teesside Cast Products (TCP) plant stirred excitement in the north-east. The steel maker confirmed rumours which have been around since May speculating on a possible deal with Thai steel giant Sahaviryia Steel Industries Public Company (SSI).

Corus explained that SSI had signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which sets out the scope of a potential transaction in which SSI would buy the facility for £320m. If a purchase were to take place, it would secure steel-making in the area for the long-term future because once the TCP plant is up and running, Corus would demand more scrap and boost the UK industry.

The deal would see SSI take over the Redcar and South Bank coke ovens, TCP’s power generation facilities and sinter plant, the Redcar blast furnace and the Lackenby steelmaking facilities. Corus and SSI would operate Redcar Wharf - TCP’s bulk terminal - as a joint venture, leaving Corus free to use Teesside to serve its other steel-making operations while also meeting SSI’s requirements on Teesside.

Ferrous prices seem to have been more volatile than ever during the past month, with MRW changing them three times in a four-week period rather than the usual changes being made in line with the steelworks’ once a month policy. This seems to be due to the shortages in material which are making export prices creep up, while the summer slowdown means prices are also battling to drop due to lower demand.

Non-ferrous
The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has said that narrow trading ranges during the summer and levelling off on scrap values on a freight basis do not necessarily equate to decreased demand.

BIR president of the non-ferrous division Robert Stein said: “Demand has been in line with available supplies, with some forward buying in respect of late-year order expectations on the part of consumers, but the disparate values evident earlier in the year seem to have gone by the wayside. We should get a fairly clear picture whether this is a short- or long-term phenomenon in the coming months.”

Meanwhile, metal prices seem to be mainly affected by currency fluctuations rather than market issues.

Aluminium
PRN prices have increased a little in the past couple of months, due to figures for the second quarter showing that aluminium PRN availability would be tight this year. But industry experts seem confident there will be enough PRNs for the rest of the year because collection rates have held up and continue to grow.

This year’s very changeable British summer has not been the best one for the aluminium packaging sector, which may have predicted higher aluminium can sales with a boost by the World Cup than those actually made. But this has not dulled the market much.

Wood
Renewable energy specialist Kedco announced that it would be using waste wood to fuel a 12MW gasification facility in Enfield, London. The £45m facility would use 60,000 tonnes of wood each year to produce electricity and heat power, and has already agreed a deal with a company that will supply the wood for 10 years.

The wood panel industry, which is concerned about the amount of waste wood being diverted to energy facilities, said that more detail about the type of wood that will be used as fuel is needed to work out whether the Enfield facility would be a cause for concern. Insiders added that if it uses wood waste which could be recycled, it is going against the waste hierarchy.

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