Efforts to meet government targets for paper and board recycling have been "stopped in their tracks" by a fall in demand caused by the current economic situation, according to The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI).
The CPI said that the UK relies on global export markets to take more than 50% of the recovered paper it collects, with Far East markets taking more than 75% of the export total, and the current economic situation has left the UK in an incredibly difficult and strained position.
Exports account for, on average, more than 400,000 tonnes of recovered paper from the UK per month and without these markets UK merchants are left with little option other than to store the material they have paid significant amounts for or sell at loss making prices.
The situation in the UK has also exacerbated price falls in Europe, as there is a glut of UK recovered paper on the European market as well as excess European domestic stocks from the lack of Far East buying....
Recycling efforts are facing a setback after Corus, the steel giant, has stopped paying for scrap metal delivered to CanRoute recycling centres due to a complete collapse in demand.
Corus had been paying £10/tonne for scrap steel, which is used in packaging, last week, a figure that was already hugely depressed after falling from £95/tonne at the start of October. In May, it was paying £235/tonne for the material.
However, as of this morning, that figure has been reduced to £0/tonne, indicating that there is simply no market for recycled steel at present.
Corus said that the price collapse had been caused by a massive decline for steel products in the construction and automotive industries, which are at a virtual standstill due to the credit crunch. Poor demand from China and India is also behind the low prices.
Waste management companies and local authorities are "hanging onto aluminium waiting for the price to come back".
The price of aluminium has halved in recent weeks from £900 to £450,.... And so it goes on with piles of stuff building up around the country.
But there is some good news...
The majority of plastic bottles collected between July and December 2007 were made from HDPE and PET, split 48% HDPE and 52% PET, but 23% could be classified as contamination because they included aluminium and steel cans, other plastics and "unusable waste" such as labels and caps.
I think I might fill the back of the SUV up and go and dump some more stuff on the council, I know they want it...