Recycling markets

The Leadership of Kingston Council, have spoken out against media “scaremongering” about the state of British recycling markets.

Cllr Liz Green raised her concerns about the considerable negative press coverage regarding the current state of the market for recycled materials, as a Full Council question for the public meeting held on 27 January.


Back in December, a number of widely circulated newspapers… claimed that the recycling market in the UK had collapsed. The implication being that kerbside recycling would no longer be a financially viable option for local authorities, and with the alternative to selling-on materials being “stockpiling”, the UK council’s recycling arrangements are no longer be environmentally justifiable.

In response to these worrying accusations, a number of Government agencies investigated the situation. It was publicly confirmed that although there was indeed a downturn in prices for recycled materials back in October – by late December prices had stabilised and materials continue to move through the UK’s export market. Government research has not suggested any change in the situation for January.

The Council’s Environmental Services officers are keeping a very close eye on our situation in Kingston – they are holding fortnightly meetings with Environmental Waste Controls (EWC) regarding the Civic Amenity Site materials and with Viridor regarding all other materials we collect.

At the meetings with Viridor and EWC last month they both confirmed that whilst prices were down they continue to be able to dispose of recycled waste through their normal routes, they are not stockpiling materials and we should not be taking further steps regarding this position at present. Interestingly EWC have continued to open up some new markets for smaller waste streams, for example carpets and plasterboard being the most recent examples.”

We will of course continue to carefully monitor the situation.

Every effort residents make to recycle is rewarded by diverting waste from landfill and the material they separate is recycled.

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