Recycling market sentiment report: where is the market headed? May 2018 to May 2019

Recycling rollercoaster
Are recycling prices headed up or down?

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.


This month’s market sentiment report shows a recycling market that believes prices are set to stay the same or increase on the whole over the next month. Only one grade, HDPE bottles may fall this month according to the market.

But over the next 3- to 12-months, the picture is less certain.


For PET bottles, the average price this month given by respondents to the survey was £213.75. As we head into May, the price is expected to stay pretty much the same. In three months time, the average price suggested was slightly down at £212.50. However, over 12-months, the market expects prices to rise a touch to £220 per tonne.

The average price for HDPE bottles is currently £410 per tonne. In May, report respondents expected a slight fall to £407.50. In three months this will ease further, they think, to £400 per tonne, then losing a further fiver to be at £395 in 12 months time.

LDPE 98/2 is currently averaging £201 on the survey and over the course of May will gain a little to reach £205, according to those who completed the survey. In three months the average price is expected to achieve £212 per tonne. However, if the market is correct, a recovery is set to happen this year for this grade and will be at £252 per tonne by this time next year.

HDPE Regrind isn’t expected by the market to change at all from its current £545 average over the coming year.

PP Regrind is currently averaging £550 per tonne and there is no expected changed in the 1- and 3-month forecasts. But by May next year, it could have increased to £570 per tonne.


The average price of OCC was given as £81 per tonne, but a wide range of prices was given by respondents reflecting the very wide spread of prices in the market at present depending on quality and end destination.

Every respondent expected prices to rise in May to reach £90 per tonne, but then there wasn’t a great deal of optimism beyond that. In three months time the market expects OCC to be £91 per tonne, and only £92 per tonne in 12 months time.

A similar pattern was seen with news & pam, with the current average given as £87.50. In May, respondents expected a small rise to £89, then £92.50 to be the price in three months and 12 months.

Better times are expected for mixed paper though as more outlets are thought likely to come online. The current average price given was £17.88, increasing to £23.75 over the next month. In three months this should rise to £26.88 and by this time next year be at £39.

Metal cans

The average price for steel cans from survey respondents was £158.33. They expect this to fall to £155 over May, then drop again to £133.33 in three months. By May 2019, this could drop to £121.67 they suggest.

For aluminium cans, the average price was £953.75 although a spread of £230 between the highest and lowest price given shows the variety of prices paid. In a month’s time, respondents expected this to have reached £1,020 but then in three months will fall back to £952.50 and be largely stable in a year at £955 per tonne.

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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