Recycling market sentiment report: July 2018 to July 2019

Recycling rollercoaster
Are recycling prices headed up or down?

Where are the prices of OCC, N&P, mixed paper, PET bottles, HDPE bottles, LDPE film, HDPE Regrind, PP Regrind, steel cans and aluminium cans headed? Find out with the REB Market Intelligence monthly recycling market sentiment report below.

This REB market sentiment report is a survey of key stakeholders in the recycling market of where they believe the market is headed in one month, three months and 12 months.


As a result, it is intended as a guide and Hanicke Robins Sanderson Limited cannot be held responsible for any commercial decisions made as a result of this information.

Although it doesn’t apply to every grade, the overall sentiment in the market is that recycling market prices are set to soften over the next 12 months.

With the bans and restrictions in place from China, and similar approaches now happening with Vietnam, Thailand, Poland and elsewhere, the market seems to fear that this will suppress recyclate prices.


With the exception of LDPE 98/2, the market seems to think that prices for plastics will ease over the coming year.

For PET bottles, the average price given by respondents to this survey was £248 currently. In a month, the expectation is that this will drop back to £235 per tonne. In three months this will fall to £220 and will be £208.50 in 12 months.

The current average price for HDPE bottles is £457, according to the survey. This will drop to £445 respondents believe in a month. A further £10 reduction will take place by three month’s time to £435 per tonne, and in a year HDPE bottles are likely to be £418 per tonne.

LDPE 98/2 could be an exception in terms of where prices are headed over the next 12 months, with the market expecting it to rise from the current average price of £257 per tonne to £273 over that period. However, the expectation is that prices will drop to £247 per tonne in a month, and £239 in three months.

HDPE Regrind has an average price of £540 currently, and this isn’t expected to change in a month or three month’s time. In a year though, the price should fall to an average of £515 per tonne, respondents suggest.

The average for PP Regrind is £525 currently, and this isn’t expected to change over the next month. Respondents expect prices to be largely stable, losing just £5 to £520 per tonne for both three and 12 months.


While the longer-term outlook for OCC and N&P is negative, there is a more positive outlook towards where mixed paper is headed over the next year.

The current average price given for OCC (combining the full range of Chinese prices and all other destinations) is £130.50, using the data from all respondents. In a month, this is expected to fall to £127. By three months, this will fall to £122 per tonne, and £109 in a year.

News & pam is expected to grow from the current average of £103, to £107 in a month and £109 in three months. However, in 12 months it will have dropped back down to £96, according to market sentiment.

Mixed paper is expected to see a small price rise over the next year from the current average of £43 to £47 in a month and three months, reaching an average of £51 in a year.


Steel cans are an average of £157, according to those who trade in them. They expect an average rise of just 50p in a month to £157.50, but then prices to come down to £145 in three months, then £112.50 in a year.

The average aluminium can price is £1,060, and those who answered the survey expect this to fall back to £1,030 in a month. There will be a £10 rise to £1,040 in three months, but it will lose this again to come back down to £1,030 in 12 months.

Please note, there may be a discrepancy between the average current prices quoted here and our weekly prices. This is because we use a market assessment taking into account a range of factors to produce our weekly market price, while the price quoted here is just an average.  

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