Recycling prices and market commentary: 17 September 2021

Mixed plastics
Mixed plastics

There was a surprise jump in the PRN/PERN value for plastics this week, that helped to get the market for polymers talking about price rises.

For paper, the market was pretty flat, but everyone is starting to trade really long.


Metals were also stable, with the exception of industrial aluminium.

Haulage and shipping remains the biggest issue, and as Paula Hill pointed out this week, there appears little chance of that getting better soon – it is more likely to get worse.

In terms of FX, the pound was trading at $1.37 from $1.38 last week and still at €1.17 against the euro.

Recycled plastics

It was a bit of a strange one this week with the plastic PRN/PERN. The latest data came out, and continued to suggest that compliance is well on course for this year, and yet the price of the certificate rose.

What seems to be going on is that sellers want to keep their heads down, as they fear the Environment Agency is on a bit of a mission at the moment. In particular, there are concerns that it is looking to audit legitimate companies and then cancel accreditation on a technicality.

With some buyers needing to top up their obligation, but with little PRN/PERNs for them to buy, then the price seems to have gone up. The problem is that the price seems to have gone up based on small trades rather than any significant volume, and this has pushed up the price of physical packaging material too.

However, there is also some good demand out there, with film and HDPE benefitting from good European demand.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2341-347340-346

Recycled paper

It was a very flat market this week for recovered fibre. There is some resistance from the mills on prices going higher, while sellers were looking for a couple of quid more – most agreed to compromise and leave prices were they were.

Some destinations are offering up to just over £160 per tonne for OCC, but most were low- to mid-£150s. Mixed was unchanged with Europeans still wanting material, and others paying a bit below them.

One interesting development is that many in the market have already traded for October, and some are talking about November, on the basis that it gives them time to sort out haulage and shipping for the material. This seems to suggest a general acceptance that the market will be stable for the next few weeks.

Unless something changes, like India comes back into the market for example, it appears that current pricing levels are at an equilibrium point most are happy to accept into the near future.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Only industrial aluminium prices increased this week, 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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