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Plastic waste has been in the headlines in the past few weeks for two reasons. China has announced that it will no longer act as Britain’s giant blue wheelie bin and secondly, the sight of an albatross feeding a plastic bag to its bewildered chick in Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet series. This has captured the public imagination. Plastic has become the bogeyman for the concerned organic tree hugging middle classes and more supermarkets will raise the price of bags and we will have a latte tax on the coffee cups. It won’t be long before the tree huggers with their virtue signalling hessian bags cast disapproving glances on the rest of us clutching our plastic bags. Plastic is the new demon of our age.


Not so long ago we were fixated on carbon emissions and in order to cut down on the amount of carbon dioxide motorists were told to switch to diesel until somebody realised that nitrogen oxide was an even bigger problem. Drax Power Station cuts down trees in south east America, converts it to wood pellets and ships 5 million tonnes a year across the Atlantic to its plant at Selby in Yorkshire. Environmentalists claim the deforestation is so large that it ‘threatens to destroy ecosystems that cannot be replaced.’ Wood, unlike coal or gas is sustainable so that’s all right then except of course that it’s patently bonkers.  Let’s not make the same mistake with plastic. Legislate in haste and repent at leisure. Plastic helps keep fruit and vegetables fresh. I’m old enough to remember shrivelled carrots, tinned peas and seasonal availability. How long before prices are forced up because the food will not travel and keep as well, people will buy less and the doctors will tell us we are not eating enough fruit and vegetables?

One option is to use bioplastic made from biofuels, vast amounts of arable land growing plants to turn into fuel rather than feed a hungry world. When bioplastics break down they produce methane, the climate changing gas that cows produce in such vast quantities. Better get rid of them too.

What about cotton bags. Defra did a study showing that a cotton bag would have to be used 173 times before it became responsible for fewer carbon emissions than a plastic bag, a cotton crop needs large amounts of water and fertiliser.

So what do we do to prevent plastic bottles, bags and beads from clogging the sea. Well we can live without beads in soap so that can be banned and is being banned. We must recycle the rest which means there must be an incentive. Plastic should be sold with a surcharge which can be redeemed by handing it back. It is starting with plastic bottles. Would our beaches be littered with plastic bags if enterprising children got paid for picking them up?  You won’t find any brass or copper or car batteries on that beach because there is a value there and therefore an incentive. In short if recycling is not economically sel-sustaining it will fail.

 It’s hard to like plastic but one of the reasons for it’s all pervasive presence is that the alternatives are no better. Here at Moores we have been recycling since 1911. In that time we have recycled rabbit skins, rags and woollens and, of course, all manner of scrap metals. This month, we processed and recycled 5000 tonnes of metal, the majority exported to Europe and the Far East.  Plastic bags one day? Who knows.

In the meantime find a way of recycling tyres economically and usefully. Now that would be a step forward.



Christmas is over (seems a long time ago now that doesn’t it) and the steady rise in metal prices carried on in early January but as with all good things it had to stop somewhere.
Well about a week ago the roller coaster reached the top of the track and we are now waiting to see how far things will drop off.
It almost mirrors last year to be fair.

The Indians are running around like Fraser in dads army proclaiming were all doomed
The Turks are claiming that sales of finished products have stalled, a well used statement that never seems to wear out.
And the rest of the world seems to follow the Turks. So perhaps we are all doomed.
Apparently these falls are a correction not a fall off a cliff.
I think that’s a fair assessment based on the articles I have looked at. But these things tend to gather momentum for no apparent reason, I was told only today by one Indian buyer that prices will be down in March.

 Crumbs alive said the actress to the bishop its only just Feb for goodness sakes. If we’re predicting lower prices in March then it’s not unreasonable to think that the correction may have a cliff edge in it somewhere.

Turkey was buying scrap last week for February delivery at slightly lower prices and they need to buy again for March.
There stocks are not massively high and there doesn’t feel like an abundance of scrap around. But recent transactions are all at less money, I can’t see a Mexican standoff taking place with the turks not buying and the scrap boys waiting for better money.

If I was a betting man I’d say prices will be down £20 to £30 this month

In essence the scrap price went to high.
I know people who buy new steel will say it’s not too high compared to the price of new sheet.
But the scrap trade seems to be driven by excess at both ends of the spectrum.
It certainly makes life more exciting I guess.
The exchange rate-has also played a factor in the recent price falls the dollar has got stronger in recent weeks. So that chips away at buying power.

No one seems to know why the dollar got stronger but the sun and daily sport newspaper never goes into too much detail on currency matters. Anyone who does know please let me know Pictures and idiots guides only though please.

The metals are steady enough, currency affects them as well copper has fallen slightly in recent weeks but it is still good money to be fair.

Unless you’re a punter with 20kg who thinks you will wait for prices to go back up. (I know I don’t ask either).

The lower grades of copper are being affected by the restrictions china are imposing as eluded to last month and highlighted above. Apparently these are going to be getting worse and strictly enforced. Word on the street is that if the checkers in china don’t enforce the laws strictly they will be slung in prison.

God wouldn’t it be good if you could do that in this country. I don’t think I’d have much of a workforce left I don’t know about you. But it would focus the mind a bit more wouldn’t it.

Il let you know about March at the end of this month

scrap metal branch

Chemical Lane

Ferrous, non-ferrous, waste & recycling

Chemical Lane
Stoke on Trent

Tel: 01782 349 300
Fax: 01782 349 306

scrap metal branch


Specialist non-ferrous yard

530 Hartshill Road
Stoke on Trent

Tel: 01782 616 578
Fax: 01782 712 904