Recycling prices and commentary: 14 September 2018


There wasn’t too much change this week for recycling prices, with only metals showing any real changes.

But there is a view that change is on the way, and the expectation is that the end of the year isn’t looking so good.


Markets for materials are expected to continue to dry up as autumn moves into winter, and it is believed this will put downward pressure on prices.

The pound strengthened against the dollar this week on the back of improving Bank of England growth forecasts to reach $1.31 compared to $1.29 last week. This made UK material a bit more expensive for deep water exporters.

It was also stronger against the euro at €1.12 from €1.11 last week.

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Exporters are continuing to struggle to get hold of containers due to the aftermath of issues with new software at Felixstowe and lorry driver holidays. It is hoped this should start to resolve itself in the next few weeks.

Recycled plastics

Prices were unchanged this week, but there are strong fears about the resilience of the export market.

While material seems to be moving at the moment, there are genuine fears that current destinations are filling up. Much focus has been on Turkey, but that appears to be losing appetite. Asian destinations remain closed, but there is some hope Vietnam will re-open soon, albeit with a much stricter inspection regime and a ban on mixed plastics.

Domestic plastic recyclers are benefiting from the opportunity available to get material at a good price and being able to pick the best quality at the moment.

Looking forward, nobody is quite sure where the market will be as the year goes on, but there tends to be more negativity towards price than positivity.

Recycled paper

Prices are unchanged with Chinese specification material still capable of reaching around £180 per tonne depending on the buyer.

For material to India, Vietnam and Indonesia, £80 to £95 is normal. UK domestic mills are paying at the top of this range or even a bit above.

Mixed paper continues to be in demand from UK and European buyers, who are taking advantage of its availability and price.

The high paper PRN is also helping to support the market.

But the view is that paper prices are likely to come down from the beginning to middle of October.

Exporters to China are likely to stop or drastically reduce shipping from this point because they will have filled their 2018 export quotas and won’t be able to ship for 2019 until they know what they are allowed to send. With the Chinese Government taking its time this year to release quotas, and historically not granting import licenses until early in the year, exporters are already talking cautiously about their end-of-year buying patterns. If as expected, quotas fall by 30% in 2019, this will likely dampen demand and therefore price too.

They look set to be less hungry than they have been for Chinese specification material, apart from filling any last remaining bits of quotas. Don’t be surprised if their offer prices drop significantly towards the end of the year.

Recycled metal

Steel prices improved by £5 per tonne this week across the board, backed by an increasing value on the LME.

There was also an increase in the value of copper by £50 per tonne, but with the LME falling today over Chinese demand fears, this increase looks unlikely to last.

Recycling prices

For recycled paper prices, click here

For recycled plastic prices, click here

For recycled metal prices, click here

For recycled glass prices, click here

For PRN/PERN prices, click here




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