Scrap Plastics - Market Update
Durham based scrap plastic broker, Nevis Resources Limited have responded positively to the UK Environment Agencies (EA) current drive to increase the quality of scrap plastics being exported from the UK.
Nevis, who employ 15 staff in the UK and are experiencing significant year on year growth, currently broker plastic scrap into the European market. The advice from Nevis to their suppliers of plastic scrap is to
double check material quality to ensure no dirt or other contamination is present within the baled plastic scrap prior to shipment.
The momentum for the EA drive on quality is believed to be the large amount of press coverage lately regarding the serious issue of plastics contaminating the oceans.
Lance Newton from Nevis commented “Plastics contaminating the seas is an environmental disaster which must be addressed quickly. It is a problem with no easy answers, though of course stemming the flow
of plastics going into the oceans should logically be the first step.”
With the Northern European waste sector heavily regulated in terms of traceability and the recycling and disposal of plastic waste, it is difficult to argue a scenario whereby any changes that may be made to plastics
recycling in the UK would make a significant impact on the level of plastic in the seas.
In all likelihood virtually all plastic items used in the UK end up either being recycled into new plastic items, used to power waste
to energy plants, or landfilled in the UK.
In some less developed and highly populated areas of world however, disposal of plastic waste is less regulated. Households and businesses in third world countries have the opportunity to use local rivers and streams
as their preferred waste disposal outlet. This will no doubt will be a challenge to stop, but nonetheless this route is likely to remain a major source of plastics entering our oceans.
Regarding the international market generally for scrap plastics, several Asian countries have now imposed strict controls on scrap plastic imports from the west. This is generally thought of as a reaction to the effective
closing of the Chinese market to plastic scrap imports, which in turn led to an oversupply situation for other Asian countries involved in plastics recycling. These countries are now in a position whereby they allow only
the import of higher grades of plastic scrap, yet still satisfy the appetite for their plastic recycling industries.
Within Europe plastic recycling capacity has some way to go to match the tonnage of plastic waste generated. PP bulk bags for instance were, this time last year, being recycled into pellets in Asia but now have a restricted
market. Many grades of scrap plastic that were previously recycled are now inevitably destined for waste to energy or landfill.
Long term Nevis Resources are optimistic that Europe will increase its plastic recycling capacity, but in the short term, UK companies may find it challenging to route much of their scrap plastics to the recycling sector.