Recycling prices and market commentary: 1 November 2019

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Paper and plastic recycling markets remain in very different places at the moment.

While the market for plastic packaging grades remains strong due to the impact of the PRN/PERN price, OCC prices in particular keep tumbling down.

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However, there are also strong rumours that there have been raids on some plastic exporters.

More on this below.

For the export market, shipping costs are relatively benign. While the pound was a touch stronger at $1.29 this week, it wasn’t too much different from $1.28 last week.

Against the euro, it was largely unchanged at just below €1.16.

Recycled plastics

Packaging grades all increased by £10 per tonne this week, reflecting an increase in the value of the PRN/PERN price.

Demand is fine for bottle grades, but there are some signs that supply of LDPE film is increasing as demand falls. This hasn’t affected prices as yet, but some buyers reported that they were not struggling to get hold of material.

There are unconfirmed rumours that the various UK environment agencies have been raiding exporters, including their homes, looking for evidence of illegal activity.

It is believed that the high PRN/PERN price over recent months has allowed some operators to undertake illegal practices. This is reported to including mixing non-PRN/PERN eligible plastics with those that are in a container, with the aim of claiming certification for the whole load.

Alternatively, some are reported to have been filling a container, filling out all of the Annex VII paperwork, emptying it then sending it off to be shipped. The material is then used to fill another container and the practice continues with the PRN/PERN eventually claimed several times on the same effective load.

Another scam is believed to involve importing material from the EU, then exporting it out again to receive the PRN/PERN.

These are all rumoured at the moment, but there is no doubt that the recycled plastic export sector is under particular scrutiny from the agencies at present.

Forecast prices

1-week4-week
PET338-346336-342
HDPE640-646638-644
LDPE 98/2498-504499-505

Recycled paper

It is really tough out there for the recovered paper market.

Prices for OCC are falling, while mixed paper also seems to be responding to downward pressure too.

While there are some rare prices of around £50 per tonne being paid for high-quality material to some South East Asian destinations, the rest of the market is somewhere between mid-£20s to £40.

Mixed paper, which had been relatively stable until recently, now appears to be responding to the falling OCC price by coming down too. £20 was the norm this week, but if OCC prices are starting to be quoted in the £20s, this may come down too.

You’d expect that the PRN/PERN price might provide some assistance with such low prices. But with the paper compliance year looking effectively met, paper is now being used towards general compliance and this is pushing down the certificate price too.

Forecast prices

1-week4-week
OCC31-3534-38
ONP66-7066-70
Mixed16-2015-19

Recycled metals

While steel prices, including cans, reversed recent falls by increasing by £5 per tonne, other grades were largely unchanged.

One exception was brass, which eased down by £50 per tonne.

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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