The plastic market has remained buoyant over the past couple of months.
Demand has remained high for all grades and despite PRN pricing coming back from highs of around £150 to around £60 at time of writing, plastic prices have continued to increase week-on-week.
This has been helped with the shipping and logistics complications that caused so many issues early in the year being largely resolved.
However, we are now seeing an easing of demand from Europe and prices are expected to soften slightly coming into the summer but for now they remain fairly stable mainly due to fierce demand from Turkish and UK processors.
There is ongoing confusion over exports to Turkey when, in January, Turkey did not implement the revised Basel Convention requirements but instead imposed its own additional controls on imports in a bid to improve the quality of material coming into the country.
This has proved counter-productive as it has banned the import of plastic grades that have been produced as a result of mechanical treatment (EWC 19 12 04).
This effectively banned high quality grades that Turkish processors have huge demand for such as PET and HDPE bottles. These grades are generally produced using mechanical sorting at MRFs and specialist plastic recyclers in the UK. I understand that the Turkish authorities are being urged to reconsider and implement the revised Basel Convention requirements instead. However, Turkey now appears to have also banned PE-based plastics with the commodity code 391510.
UK processors have welcomed the bans and have been able to secure more tonnage for their plants although at higher prices than they would have liked.
It is encouraging to see more UK plastic processing capacity coming online during the first part of 2021 with more plants in the pipeline for later in the year and beyond. Like I said in my last report, the UK plastic recycling community is very resilient. Forward-thinking companies are now prepared to put their money where their mouth is and invest in UK processing.
Martin Robb is sales and marketing director at Nevis Resources