Recycling prices and market commentary: 14 December 2018


The recycled commodity market was quiet this week as participants decided to think about Christmas rather than trading.

Please note, this will be the final price report of 2018. The next report will be published on 4 January 2019.


It wasn’t just about Christmas, with market conditions also helping to make it quiet.

For example, domestic destinations have largely done all their buying so have yards full of material waiting to be processed.

Export is proving a challenge for materials too, with haulage and shipping already tricky to get hold of. Next week is likely to be even tougher.

As in previous weeks, the PRN/PERN market has been just as crucial as the physical material market. There wasn’t too much change in prices, but paper and plastic transition prices are rising (see more below).

The exchange rate was beneficial this week for those who were able to export, with it dropping to $1.24 earlier in the week, rising to close to $1.26 by today. The euro also dropped from €1.12 a week ago, to €1.10 at the beginning of this week, recovering to €1.11 by today.

With Brexit negotiations still looking unresolved and uncertainty increasing, the pound should be volatile until political stability returns.

Recycled plastics

Domestic destinations have full yards and are now turning away material, with it likely to be into the New Year before they start purchasing again.

The PRN/PERN price continues to help packaging grades, both domestic and export, and is keeping prices high for the time being.

With a transition price of £100, above the current spot £92 to £93 for December, it looks like the market price is set to rise even higher in 2019.

As mentioned above, export markets are proving a challenge to reach, even when they want material. This is because haulage and shipping are not so easy to find right now.

Forecast prices

1 week           4 week

PET      302-308         302-308
HDPE    580-586         583-589
LDPE     253-259         251-256

Recycled paper

With the Chinese buyers either out of the market or just purchasing small volumes, the emphasis switched to other destinations.

Quotas are understood to be 30-40% lower for China in 2019, but this has yet to be fully confirmed. As a result, the Chinese mills are reluctant to buy too much material, especially as they remain pretty well stocked. Decent purchasing in October, as shown by the latest export data, means they are probably done for the year.

Where you could get a price for Chinese specification, it was around £105 to £110. But there was so little that this didn’t influence our market price this week.

Without too much Chinese tonnage, other destinations became the prime focus. Effectively top of the market was Vietnam at around £85 per tonne, followed by domestic and European at £80 and below. Again, all these markets were not buying a lot, even if it was stronger than China.

Mixed has trundled along at a similar price for weeks now, and sees no sign of changing. Demand for UK material from UK, Europe and India, is keeping all parts of the market happy.

1 week        4 week

OCC      82-86           82-86
N&P      113-117       113-117
Mixed    43-47          43-47

Recycled metals

There was no change in scrap metal markets this week, with all prices stable on last week.

For 2019, it is being predicted that aluminium PRN/PERN prices might hit £200 per tonne from the current £150 per tonne, but that remains to be seen.

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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