Recycling prices and market commentary: 12 March 2021

Cardboard OCC
Cardboard OCC in a bale

There is a heatwave occurring in the paper market at the moment, with OCC especially hot.

It also seems to be spreading to LDPE film, which has also seen gains this week.


For both, lockdown shortages seem to have bumped up the prices.

Other grades were more stable with only small changes happening in the PRN/PERN market.

Metals only saw small changes, but aluminium cans have risen in value catching up a bit with the LME.

Against the dollar, the pound was trading at $1.39 – a touch higher than $1.38 a week ago. There was no change from last week against the euro at €1.16.

Recycled plastics

Strong demand from Europe in particular has boosted the price of LDPE film this week.

With lockdowns affecting the availability of both supply of secondary recyclate, but demand good for the finished goods, this is pushing up the price.

There was a small fall of about £5 per tonne in the PRN/PERN value this week, so this increase was all about the underlying price going up.

Prices into Europe are attracting a strong underlying price with the value of the PRN/PERN on top, and UK buyers are struggling to compete with these values.

Bottle grades saw no real change this week with the small PRN/PERN adjustment having no impact.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2337-343322-328

Recycled paper

The heat turned into a heatwave this week as OCC continued to jump in price.

If you offered £150 for a load, it was most likely too low as others were paying higher.

While UK mills were around this price, Europe and Turkey were a bit higher, with non-inspection areas mid-£150s. Inspection destinations in Asia were above this on occasion.

The problem was that people were struggling to get hold of material to achieve these prices even if the demand was there.

Will this last? There are some who think it will last for months way beyond easing of lockdown restrictions as they expect an economic boost from shops and others re-opening.

But there is also news coming out of China that some major mills will take downtime as demand for finished goods has started to weaken. With China influencing the mills it owns in other parts of Asia, and buying a lot of pulp from India, it will be interesting if this downward pressure wins out in coming weeks, or if other destinations will keep firing the heatwave.

Mixed didn’t respond in the same way, just rising by a little.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Brass grades came down by £50 per tonne this week and lead by £25 per tonne.

Aluminium cans responded to recent price rises on the LME and a shortage of feedstock by rising in price by £75 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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