The UK has tripled the amount of household waste it recycles in the last 10 years, and on the back of this there is a growing recycling and reprocessing industry in the UK, particularly for materials such as glass, newsprint and plastic bottles. Not all of the materials collected for recycling are re-processed into products in the UK: some are re-processed abroad, reflecting trends in the global economy. As with all commodities, the prices for recyclable materials rise and fall according to supply and demand. In the current economic downturn, demand for raw materials—including recyclable waste—has declined, leading to a fall in prices.
The Government are monitoring the situation closely, working with the Waste and Resources Action Programme, the Local Government Association, the Environment Agency, the waste management industry and others. According to the best available information, markets for recycled materials have stabilised, though at lower prices. Recycling continues to be an economically viable and environmentally beneficial part of the UK's waste strategy, and we are encouraging householders to continue to put out waste for recycling.