Recycling prices and market commentary: 13 December 2019


Is there some optimism to be had for the struggling paper recycling sector? Possibly, although positives could potentially be outweighed by some negatives – more on this below.

With the PRN/PERN falling for plastic packaging grades, this pushed down the price of bottles and films.


Many metals also saw a price increase, with copper in particular seeing a strong rise, brass and steel were also up.

A clear General Election result was viewed positively by the FX markets, which meant the pound jumped to $1.33 compared to $1.31 last week. The euro rose to €1.19 from €1.18 a week ago.

This meant UK material became a bit more expensive on global markets, although this won’t be seen until next week if it continues.

Recycled plastics

Again it was the PRN/PERN price that drove the market this week.

With many companies that still needed compliance for 2019 achieving it, this saw the price of the plastic note drop by £40 from last week to £270.

Bottle and film grades fell by the same rate. With Christmas now close, UK and European buyers in particular are well stocked ahead of the break, and so there was no extra demand to mitigate the PRN/PERN price fall.

With demand low and next week the last full week ahead of Christmas and many preparing to finish on Friday, it wouldn’t be a surprise if trading volumes are low next week.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2443-447449-454

Recycled paper

The last few weeks have been extremely challenging for the recovered paper sector, but there are some possible routes for optimism to return.

Indonesia is believed to have implemented a 0.5% contamination limit on imports, and inspection agencies will begin checking loads next week. However, inspections and quality requirements will be tough.

There are also strong suggestions that China might reclassify cardboard next year to a renewable product rather than a solid waste and continue to allow some imports – although volumes are highly unlikely to recover to previous levels if this is the case.

With anything involving China, until it actually happens, don’t assume it will happen.

However, on the downside, there are reports India has introduced inspection of every five containers and implemented an already existing 1% contamination tolerance that it wasn’t previously enforcing. For the time being, exports to India have ground to a halt until both the quality being sent there improves and the inspection situation eases. Low prices are hardly worth the hassle of sending it.

It is also being suggested that India is on the verge of banning mixed paper.

In terms of this week’s market, prices were unchanged and trading volumes were very low.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Copper prices jumped by £100 per tonne this week on rising prices on the LME. Brass grades were up £50 while aluminium grades were unchanged.

Steel grades, including cans, increased again this week by another £5 per tonne.

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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