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PRN figures reveal “unremarkable” second quarter

PRN supply figures for the second quarter of 2011 are “unremarkable” following a strong performance by most materials and a total reduction of 2% on the previous quarter.

The National Packaging Waste Database figures for total waste accepted or exported, which cover the period April to June 2011, reveal that paper/board packaging figures fell furthest, reducing 34,620 tonnes relative to the first quarter. But a closer look at the figures reveals domestic paper/board reprocessing increased 11.9% while the amount of paper/board exported fell 14.1%. The material reached a new total of 745,453 tonnes for the quarter, while wood packaging fell 14,924 tonnes, to 161,718 tonnes in Q2.

The Environment Exchange senior market operator Ian Andrews told MRW that the figures confirm a “very strong performance” across all markets. He said: “Many sellers had hoped that supply figures would be a lot lower than they actually are, because [with] this set of figures, I can’t see value returning. Paper and wood are down, realistically this could be because of a large wood reprocessor out of the market, obviously that has seen the wood volume reduce, but the demand is only 55,000 tonnes.”

The figures also reveal that glass has remained relatively unchanged between the quarters, with 441,210 tonnes of glass packaging accepted for processing or export, down only 8,500 tonnes from the previous quarter.

Recresco director Tim Gent told MRW the Q2 figures were “higher than expected”. He said: “These figures are putting a lot of downward pressure on green and mixed glass, we were hoping for around the 400,000 tonne mark. Current prices don’t justify the PRN price and without support, the glass PRN price could drop further.”

Plastic figures increased 16,000 tonnes between quarters, rising to 157,505 tonnes of packaging waste accepted or exported from a Q1 figure of 141,366 tonnes.

However, Andrews believes this figure will change in coming days and weeks as a number of companies have yet to report their quarterly data to the agency. He said the figure could “realistically grow by another 2,000 or 3,000 tonnes”.

360 Environmental director Phil Conran told MRW the figures are generally “unremarkable”. He said: “Aluminium has had a stonking quarter, so I don’t think there are any worries there. Plastic also had a fairly strong quarter, it’s eased the pressure on plastic but it leaves the market a little bit tight because it needs 141,000 tonnes for each of the remaining quarters to meet the obligation.”

He added: “To be honest, the data looked pretty unremarkable, there’s nothing that jumps out to suggest it’s a crisis year or we’ve underestimated. It’s a boring set of data, the one thing that just speaks to me, is that it demonstrates a fall in the amount of packaging being recycled.

“You could argue that the one thing that comes out of this data, is the fact that we’re continuing along this trend of a decline in the amount of packaging that’s being collected, and therefore, it comes back to this concern that the Government didn’t raise PRN targets and we’re seeing the recycling of packaging starting to slip back a bit.”

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