Recycling prices and market commentary: 17 January 2020

PET flake
Recycled PET flake

Recyclate buyers and sellers will have found very different market conditions depending on what material they were trading in this week.

While plastic packaging grades suffered from a big drop in price, caused by a big drop in the PRN/PERN price, OCC saw a small rise once again following on from last week.


In metals, only brass saw a price rise.

As we get fully back to normal in our working lives in 2020 following the Christmas break, it seems the PRN/PERN looks set to dominate again this year for recyclate buyers and sellers.

Volatility really affected plastics in the second half of last year, and there is no reason to believe it won’t have the same effect this year.

With paper the paper PRN/PERN price back up again following the November/December slump of a pound or two, this is now starting to influence paper prices once again.

Against the dollar and the euro, the pound was unchanged on last week at $1.30 and €1.17 respectively.

Recycled plastics

A £70 fall in the value of the PRN/PERN had the same effect on packaging grades this week.

PET and HDPE bottles and LDPE film grades all fell by the same amount leaving packaging grade prices at their lowest since April 2019.

Bottle demand also seems to be more on the weak side at the moment, although still steady. Film grades are still getting some interest from Europe and some Asian destinations, but this may soften due to the weaker PRN/PERN price.

The PRN/PERN situation looks set to dominate this year again, and the sort of volatility seen last year could be the key factor for recyclate pricing over the coming weeks and months.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2368-374383-389

Recycled paper

Indonesian buyers continued to help push up the price of OCC this week, with them paying in the low £40s.

There is a sense of them stocking up following the temporary import ban, and there is an expectation that demand from here will soften at some point.

Material is going to China now initial quotas have been issued, but volumes are relatively low and of course, it needs to meet quality specification. Typically prices in the region of £30 to £35 can be achieved.

Indian buyers have also been more active in the market and in some instances matching Chinese prices. However, there is also an expectation that these prices will be subject to a claim further down the line, even if the material quality is good. Most material going to India is still at least £5 below China though.

All other destinations, including UK mills, are below this.

Demand for other grades remains weak, although prices haven’t altered much. One change has been mixed paper, where the gate fee has increased for it.

Forecast prices

Mixed-5 – -9-3 – -7

Recycled metals

Most metal prices were stable this week. Only brass changed with a £50 per tonne increase.

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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