Recycling prices and market commentary: 16 October 2020

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

There is potentially a bit of heat emerging in the recovered fibre sector this week, but that could easily be balanced out by cooling influences.

It was another mostly stable week for the plastics market, with packaging grades subdued ahead of the publication of Q3 data from the National Packaging Waste Database this month.


As mentioned by Ben Richardson in his analysis of the PRN/PERN market, the UK appears to be on course to meet compliance. As a result of this, the PRN market is pretty quiet.

Metals also saw little change with just brass grades up and steel prices lower.

Currency market-wise, the pound finished the week unchanged against the dollar last week at $1.29, while those shipping into Europe saw the euro at the same value of €1.10.

Recycled plastics

In an otherwise stable market, top quality LDPE grades saw some really good demand from Europe, especially as some tried to stock up ahead of potential upcoming lockdowns in European countries.

This meant that prices overall rose by about £5 per tonne for 99/1 and 98/2 grades.

However, there have also been reports that across the plastic market, some have held onto packaging grade stock in the hope of benefitting from a hoped-for end-of-year PRN/PERN price rise. Of course, it now looks like that surge in price for the certification isn’t going to happen.

Therefore, these companies that are holding onto this stock are now needing to sell to get the cash for the material and free up space in their yards. Therefore a bit more material is coming onto the market, and this may hold prices down too.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

As mentioned at the top of this article, there is a little bit of heat coming from European mills.

Earlier in the year when Europe went into lockdown, many mills struggled to get material from domestic markets. As European countries are discussing or beginning some form of lockdown again, these mills want to get hold of material.

With material in short supply here too, there is potential for prices to rise over the coming weeks if this continues.

News that Indonesia is effectively open again for the rest of the year, could also increase pressure to get hold of material especially if buyers there look to stock up before the new registration process begins in January.

The flip side to this is that China is now gone of course, and other Asian buyers aren’t too keen on getting involved in the market at the moment.

Much will depend in the next few weeks which influence becomes strongest.

As a result of all this, OCC was up by a pound and mixed continued to have strong European interest and increased by £3 per tonne.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Steel grades dropped by £5 per tonne this week, including the price of cans. Brass grades were up 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

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