February 3, 2009
In 2007, the UK market for non-metal recycling was worth an estimated £2.09bn, an increase of 40% from 2006. This market report splits the analysis of the market into sectors determined by specific materials — such as paper, glass, plastics, textiles and packaging. The recycling of waste electronic/electrical equipment (WEEE), and end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) are also included. The analysis also discusses the market in terms of municipal waste. Statistics are given in total waste tonnage, and recycling rates for municipal waste ( http://www.bharatbook.com/productdetail.asp?id=9806 ).
The non-metal recycling market is discussed in the context of the Government’s waste strategy, which is based on the principles of the waste hierarchy — a method of ranking waste-disposal options, with the top priorities being waste reduction, re-use and recycling. Legislation is a major driver behind the recycling market, especially the Landfill Directive with its increasingly restrictive stages as to what can be sent to landfill. In addition, legislation and recycling targets are in place for specific waste streams.
The UK non-metal recycling sector is dominated by a small number of large companies, most of which have other interests, particularly in the water industry. There is a strong representation of continental European companies in the UK non-metal recycling sector, major examples being businesses from France and Spain.
Non-metal recycling faces challenging issues in addition to those related to legislation. Further expansion in the recycling infrastructure is needed if the UK is to increase its recycling rate across a broader range of materials. This is particularly true for waste streams that have recently been subject to recycling legislation — e.g. WEEE and ELVs. It is also vital that there is more marketing of centres and schemes that cover these waste streams. As a result of new legislation on landfill, fly tipping is now a problem; there is also a problem with rogue recyclers who are not actually bona fide operators and simply dump collected waste in illegal sites.
The municipal sector is experiencing a degree of stress as it tries to cope with an increasing volume of recycled material. Moreover, the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) gives local authorities an allowance for landfill which, if exceeded, can involve the payment of very high charges for landfill space. The recycling sector is growing, which raises the question of recruiting and maintaining a workforce in this industry.
The future will see further expansion in the scope and complexity of non-metal recycling. The recycling rate for biodegradable materials, WEEE and ELVs will continue to grow. Further legislation for the recycling of batteries is in the pipeline, and there is currently discussion about recycling in the construction industry. Increased global demand for almost all materials will help to boost the value of the recycling market.
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