Ben Richardson on the PRN market: December 2021

Ben Richardson Valpak

The monthly figures were good overall, and even those which did have a small reduction, the UK has complied. In the final week before Christmas, there is a settling of markets, which were causing challenges four weeks ago. 

Plastics have complied for 2021, if you include the carry forward, after a monthly volume processing volume of 110kt. This hasn’t stopped the prices bobbling around though, anywhere from £45 up to £69 where it sits today. 


There is still demand for 2021, which is keeping the price from plummeting, like it has in other materials. These buyers will have sat out the market hoping for the price to reach rock bottom, but overall demand is stopping that from happening and as such they are being forced to buy. 

From a transitional point of view, the material is slightly more valuable and has been trading around the £79 mark. As we head into 2022 prices will become more realistic and the market will get a much better feel for the value of the PRN, based on POM and supply. 

There is very little to say on the paper PRN, as it trades at £0.30, with traders giving them away FOC due to the insignificance compared to the material value. We continue to reprocess more than last year, by around 71kt, meaning plenty of PRNs for general recycling and carry forward into 2022. As a result, transitional prices are around £2.50 to £3.00, compared to the 2020/2021 price of £7.50 and as such they will likely remain low. 

As mentioned last month remelt continued to be the hot topic until recently. Prices have halved and are now trading downwards, currently at £100 but not for long, after a strong month of reprocessing meaning we are now 56kt up on this time last year. The only side impact of that is that glass other became scarce in the market, as people focussed on remelt. This meant the price doubled from £6.00 up to £13.50. Value-wise this is a small increase, but percentage-wise this is a large jump. 

All other materials have seen a drop away in prices as they are used for general;

  • Aluminium down by £1.00 to £2.00
  • Steel down by £2.50 to £1.50
  • Wood down by £0.05 to £0.30.

Ben Richardson is director of procurement at Valpak

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