Recycling prices and market commentary: 16 December 2022

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

Thoughts are now turning towards Christmas breaks and what the market will bring in the New Year.

There is a great deal uncertainty out there for the start of 2023, especially for materials that aren’t used to the high PRN/PERN prices we have seen at the end of this year for packaging grades. This is making it hard to price the physical material if it is hard to know when the 2023 PRN/PERN market will be like.


This week saw some price falls for key plastics grades, OCC and some industrial metals. Partly due to Christmas and getting material into vehicles or containers for export earlier in the month, it felt like winding down was already beginning.

At $1.21, the pound was slightly lower than last week’s $1.22 against the dollar. Compared to the euro it slumped to €1.14 from €1.16 a week ago.

Recycled plastics

With the PRN/PERN coming off this week, this had an impact on packaging grades.

Film dropped by a similar £10 per tonne, with material still moving especially from back of store collections ahead of Christmas.

Bottle grade buyers were quieter due to being well stocked and both a fall in the underlying prices and less PRN/PERN subsidy meant a bigger price drop for these.

Thoughts are now turning to January and what the market will bring then.

Recycled paper

There is a lot of discussion about the PRN/PERN price at the moment, especially with it rising to around £50 per tonne.

With this now priced into the value of OCC, it has created a lot of uncertainty about how a new compliance year will affect the PRN/PERN and what this means for prices.

OCC actually came off a bit this week as the South East Asian market had got a lot of the orders it required onto the water in previous weeks. While material was moving, those who were buying were finding plenty of material was available and were able to ease prices down.

Mixed demand was good, and there was talk of some quite high prices compared to recent weeks, but most of the market was similar to the week before.

Recycled metals

Copper and brass both fell in value this week, the former by £175 per tonne for most grades, and the latter by £100 per tonne. Aluminium grades bucked the trend and increased by £50 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