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Recycling Plastic – Oil Prices & Plant Closures

Plummeting oil prices have resulted in the production of new plastic to become cheaper than recycling plastic.

Thousands of jobs across the UK are being threatened as the prices of oil slump and recycling plastic is becoming less cost effective. Last year, a barrel of oil would cost just over £76, it has now fallen to less than £35 per barrel.

This decrease means that it is now cheaper for new plastic to be made from crude oil rather than recycling plastic.

With over 7,000 people employed within the plastics recycling industry this sudden downturn is putting a strain on recycling centres and hundreds of jobs are being jeopardised.

120 jobs were lost when Closed Loop Recycling Plant in Dagenham had to close down following the drop in oil prices.

James Samworth, a former director of the plant quoted:

“Oil had a big impact. Oil makes up about 30% of the cost of ethylene, which is the raw material for a lot of plastic. When the oil price went from $110 to $50 that basically reduced the gross margins on this plant by about 40% in a matter of weeks, so it was an enormous shock to absorb.”

The result of these low oil prices inevitably means that most big companies will turn to buying newly made plastics rather than recycled plastic.  This means more plastics will be sent to landfill, where a single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade.  Plastics release toxins at all stages, in its production, use and disposal, these can be harmful to humans and land and sea animals. Particularly marine animals that mistake plastic items for prey, which can then cause blockages, infection and often death.

It is essential for the environment to continue recycling plastic as  much as possible to reduce the amount sent to landfill and left to pollute land and sea.

If you need to hire a skip and would like to be sure that all of your waste is disposed of as responsibly as possible then just give us a call on 0800 019 4530 or visit our website for a competitive skip hire quote. We check that all of our suppliers have their waste carriers licences and are passionate about responsible waste management.