Recycling prices and market commentary: 12 January 2023

Bales of OCC cardboard for recycling
Bales of OCC cardboard for recycling

It is likely to be the topic of conversation for a long time yet, but the situation in the Red Sea keeps on evolving and that will have an impact on the recycling marketplace.

Traders are working hard trying to work out how much shipping is costing, is going to cost, or even what the extra costs are for boxes already on the way in some circumstances.


New developments like the attacks on the Yemeni rebels by UK and US forces add to a sense that this could be a situation where we are in it for the long haul.

However, while trading has not yet got back to normal levels after Christmas, material is moving and finding homes on the whole.

The pound was trading at $1.27 and €1.16 up a cent on last week for both the dollar and euro.

Recycled plastics

A stable PRN/PERN and a market waiting to see if there is any impact from the shipping crisis in the Red Sea meant a largely unchanged market this week.

There was some discussion about lower prices coming out of Europe for film, but these didn’t seem to translate into reality.

Some non-bottle or film grades saw some seasonal interest in anticipation of manufacturing in spring and summer, but again any impact was limited.

In some ways, with little material now going to Asia, it is the macro-economic picture and demand for goods that will influence prices over the coming weeks. In particular, oil prices seem to have gone a little higher as a result of the US and UK bombings, and people will be looking to see how this filters down to virgin and recycled plastics.

Recycled paper

There was quite a bit of variety in prices paid for OCC in particular this week with a spread between highest and lowest of about £20 per tonne.

Some were looking after customers and happy to pay similar or slightly higher prices compared to last week, but others were able to negotiate lower prices with those who wanted to move material.

The overall impact was a slight increase in price on last week, but in some ways, this was an adjustment as markets were working out levels last week after the Christmas break.

There was an indication that mixed was a bit harder to move than OCC, and this brought prices down a touch.

One thing for sure is that there is a lot of uncertainty in the market, which might take some time to resolve.

Recycled metals

It was a week of falling prices with copper down £100 per tonne, brass and aluminium by £50 per tonne, and ferrous grades by £10 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