Plastic recycling has weak relationship with oil, but recyclers feeling pinch warns WRAP


WRAP’s updated Plastics Market Situation Report has suggested that the price of recycled plastics has a weak relationship with the price of oil.

But it also warned that plastic recyclers are particularly vulnerable to changes in market conditions due to their position in the middle of the supply chain, often feeling the squeeze from both sides as well as higher costs and lower input prices.


The report found that the low oil price was a contributing factor to currently lower prices but was not the whole story.

It also said that there remained a wide range of end market sectors and applications potentially available to the plastics recycling sector despite the high profile closure of some UK recycling facilities in recent months.

Since the report was last published in 2011, it has also noticed a sharp increase in recycling of plastic packaging, which is up more than 50% since 2009. Brands and retailers have also lightweighted products in that time.

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WRAP director Marcus Gover (pictured) said: “Much has been achieved since we published the second Plastics Market Situation Report 2011, but there is still much to be done with challenging targets looming and testing market conditions.

“This report provides much needed clarity to some of the challenges the sector has faced recently as well as the confidence on where to invest next.

“Plastics recyclers don’t have to wait for oil prices to rise again. There are markets out there that will work that aren’t linked to oil prices. It’s about keeping costs low, not overreaching and identifying an end product to sell the reprocessed materials into.”