Provisional figures from the Environment Agency for the last quarter of 2013 indicate that targets have been met for all packaging materials.
Glass had its strongest quarter of the year. Over 300,000 tonnes of remelt were processed or exported between October and December 2013, 50,000 tonnes more than the average of the previous three quarters.
In December, the price of glass remelt PRNs reached one of the highest levels in ten years at £85 per tonne. The latest available MRW data indicated a price of £58 per tonne in the third week of February 2014.
In the fourth quarter, glass aggregate also increased above the previous quarters’ average to around 173,000 tonnes. This positioned the materials some 30,000 tonnes away from reaching the aggregate glass recycling target, but the strong performance of remelt meant a combined 81% target was met.
Less aluminium and steel were reprocessed or exported than in any other quarter, but given strong performances in the first nine months of the year, the materials easily met their targets, with around 8,000 and 70,000 tonnes in surplus, respectively.
Some 190,000 tonnes of plastics were reprocessed or exported, in line with the performance of the previous quarter, positioning the material over 50,000 tonnes in excess of the obligation for 2013.
Enough tonnages of recovered paper had already been processed or exported in the nine months to October to meet annual obligations. Still, paper reported the strongest performance of the year in the fourth quarter, with some 915,000 recovered tonnages, which will be carried on for 2014.
Almost two million tonnes of packaging materials were recovered or recycled in the fourth quarter bringing the total for 2013 to over 7.5 million.
The EA noted the figures for the fourth quarter of 2013 have not been validated so they might eventually be changed. But Phil Conran, director at consultancy 360 Environmental, said any significant change was unlikely as reprocessors and exporters had to submit data by the end of January to satisfy their PRN obligations.