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Q2 figures lift the packaging gloom

What a difference a quarter makes. In April, Q1 packaging figures were met with unalloyed gloom over meeting 2013 targets, notably in glass and plastic. Now, though, we’ve seen totals bouncing back.

For the plastic sector, which faces the most ‘aggressive’ target growth in tandem with tougher quality ‘Green Fence’ restrictions in China, this is welcome news. Glass trading, still rocking from the Nationwide fraud (which concluded this week with jail terms), also seems less of a headache - if the uplift is maintained. For both materials, these may be big ifs.

PRN prices increased in recent weeks and defenders of the system will take heart from the impact that it appears to have had in getting more glass or plastic to market. But, as Phil Conran of 360 Environmental points out, both could fall away again if prices subside.

He’s worried about glass being stockpiled to manipulate the market and MRW shares his wish for more transparency within the packaging figures. Whatever the system, we would also prefer processing to take place within the UK whenever possible - but that’s a different debate.

If you’ve got a spare hour on Monday, then catch Undercover Boss on Channel 4 which this week features Biffa chief executive Ian Wakelin.

Wakelin goes incognito, seeking employment at Biffa sites. Three years ago this month, Viridor’s chief executive Colin Drummond trod the same path. As we reported then, he found it an eye-opening experience: “It’s exposed me to some of the things we do really well. Some of the things that we need to work on, and given me a full, rounded view of how the company works on a day to day basis.”

For Wakelin’s part, MRW understands he found the making of ‘reality TV’ programmes rather illuminating. But that’s for a later issue.

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