Recycling prices and market commentary: 17 June 2022

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

Has the recycling market reached a tipping point?

For paper and plastics, the market has seen record prices in recent months, but there is a sense that the market is reaching the top of the acceptable price curve. But counter to that is that this could just be a pause where the market stays in a holding pattern before it takes off again.


That isn’t the view of most market participants though. As we approach the summer period, the consensus seems to be that the market will come off. Most think it is unlikely to crash, but prices will gradually ease back. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

In terms of the foreign exchange markets, the pound was trading at $1.22 this week from $1.24 a week ago. Against the euro, it briefly dipped to €1.15 but recovered to match last week’s €1.17.

Recycled plastics

For PET bottles, the underlying pattern was one where the price seemed to be declining. With the PRN rising a touch this week, cheaper freight rates and beneficial foreign exchange, this helped to mask this underlying weakening.

For LDPE film, there is also a sense that the market is going to come down. The underlying price was effectively unchanged, but many believe the market may have reached its peak. The coming weeks should show if that is the case.

This wasn’t the situation with HDPE bottles where they have now broken £1,000. But again, what is the limit that is acceptable to the ultimate end users of this material?

But for all grades, it is also the case that there are low volumes of supply available. Will the strong demand for recycled plastics continue at current levels or will this also fall back as the economic situation gets more difficult?

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2824-830820-826

Recycled paper

Prices were largely unchanged for those who were active in the market, although there wasn’t too many of them.

India wasn’t in the market, and hasn’t been for a couple of weeks, while other deep sea buyers that were buying were looking to get lower prices. However, a decent PRN/PERN price, lower freight costs and a beneficial exchange rate kept those who were buying at stable levels.

Some European mills were still keen on OCC and mixed and were prepared to pay a premium for it.

The expectation is that the next couple of weeks will set a benchmark for whether the market will stay stable or start to fall back over the summer. More people are tending for the latter, although the expectation is that it will only come down a little while there isn’t much material around.

Nobody really expects the fire at Smurfit Kappa’s Nechells mill to make a huge difference to the market, although there is interest to see when they will be able to replenish the lost stock.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Copper came off by £75 per tonne and ferrous grades by £20. Otherwise, the market was stable.

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