Recycling prices and market commentary: 1 April 2022


There was no joking in the recycling market this week, but there was a very active PRN/PERN market.

With the publication of the Q4 data from the National Packaging Waste Database, and the carry-over figures from 2021 into 2022, this sent the PRN/PERN market into a hive of activity.


On plastics in particular, it made for a volatile week.

But the paper market remained relatively quiet, and there are signs that OCC is gradually easing downwards.

While there was an increase for ferrous metals and copper, other grades were relatively stable.

One factor to keep an eye on is the health of manufacturing. The latest set of Purchasing Manager’s Indices for manufacturing. Covid lockdowns in China are clearly having an impact as the PMI fell below 50 for the first time since November, dropping to 49.5 from 50.2 last month. Anything above 50 indicates growth, and anything below 50 contraction.

While the UK manufacturing sector recorded a very healthy 55.2, this still dropped from 58 last month.

The pound continues to be relatively stable against the dollar at $1.31. But against the euro it dropped from €1.19 a week ago to €1.18 at the time of writing.

Recycled plastic

High prices continue as key packaging grades all increased in value this week.

Stronger demand keeps pushing up the price of bottles and film, with UK, European and Turkish demand pushing ever higher record values.

Further support was given by the PRN/PERN this week following publication of the NPWD Q4 data and the carry-over figure of just 37,025 tonnes.

On this news, the value of the PRN/PERN jumped up to over £170 per tonne, from £135 last week. But this proved to be a temporary jump with small tonnage trades coming back in at £130 and making the market wonder what is the true level.

Traders are keeping a close eye on the market for any sign of where this market might settle, if indeed it does. It could be a bumpy few weeks for the plastic PRN/PERN market.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2628-634630-636

Recycled paper

OCC prices are gradually coming down and in the £150s seems to be the normal range for most after 5 weeks above £160.

Demand is still there from UK mills for OCC and mixed, but Europe seems to be cooling and Asian buyers seem to be waiting for the market to fall further.

Mixed hasn’t yet fallen, thanks to UK and European buyers. But with India able to buy mixed again from Europe from tomorrow, the question is how long can this grade stay at around the £120 mark, especially with OCC coming down?

Multi and SOW are seeing good interest from Europe, helping to push these grades up a bit.

Publication of the Q4 NPWD data and the carry-over figures, also helped to push the paper PRN/PERN price up to £5 per tonne, although this seemed to have little impact on the market. However, it is providing a bit of extra support after starting the year at 60p.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Copper grades were up £50 per tonnes this week, while ferrous metals (including cans) increased by £20 per tonne.

The release of the Q4 and carry-over data from the NPWD had only minimal impact on metal packaging PRNs/PERNs with steel increasing by around £3 per tonne, and aluminium seeing no change.

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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