Recycling prices and market commentary: 11 December 2020

The Port of Felixstowe

Containers, port disruption, Brexit and PRNs were the key conversations in the market this week.

Different parts of the recycling industry reacted differently to these. For example, film buyers in Europe were active, but paper buyers in Asia were put off.


The run upwards in metal prices continued this week with most grades up again.

Getting haulage or shipping is proving extremely challenging at the moment. Even if you can get a box onto a ship, finding the internal transport to get it to port is problematic. Once it gets to port, you worry whether it is going to get stuck at portside due to all the chaos happening in Felixstowe and Southampton in particular.

Fears of a no deal Brexit led to the pound falling to $1.32 from $1.35 a week ago, while against the euro it dropped from €1.10 a week ago to €1.08 this week.

Recycled plastic

The PRN/PERN value for plastics jumped up to £25 this week and bottle grades increased by a fiver matching the price rise for the certificates.

Film increased on the back of strong underlying support from European buyers who are keen to get stock before the end of the Brexit transition period on 1 January, especially as a no deal scenario seems the favoured approach of the British Government at the moment.

This isn’t the case with UK film buyers though who are waiting on the assumption that this European demand will dissipate in January and they will be able to pick and choose material at low prices.

The transition PRN/PERN is currently trading at £76 though for 2021, so this should add some price support for material traded in the New Year.

There remain reports though that many plastics recyclers are struggling with accreditation for next year, and some are finding the Environment Agency in particular are making it especially difficult.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

Many have already traded for December at the end of November and are grateful for that fact, as the rest of the month has so far proved tricky.

Material seems hard to get hold of with the end of the lockdown in England last week not bringing a huge amount of fibre to the market so far. With people returning to shops and in the final stages of online shopping, there are hopes more will come on stream next week.

This lack of supply hasn’t led to demand pressures though. UK mills are well stocked, Europe is too and isn’t keen to buy with the uncertainty at ports and with whether there are enough hauliers to get material onto the Continent anyway.

For Asian mill groups, they are wary of the shipping situation and lack of containers and are happy to wait until mid-January when they expect this situation to ease. They are also anticipating lower shipping prices then too.

One bit of news is that Baltic Control have confirmed they have been given an inspection license for Malaysia. With CWM Survey & Inspections also announcing they have also been given accreditation, it looks likely Malaysia will soon be expecting inspections of waste paper. The only questions now are when and what will be required?

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Copper prices have jumped by £500 per tonne in the last month, and by £100 in the past week. Brass was up £50 per tonne too.

There was no movement for aluminium grades however.

Ferrous grades, including cans, increased by £15 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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