Recycling prices and market commentary: 18 August 2023


Recyclate markets remain quiet and challenging at the same time as global economic news weighs heavy.

Markets had been subdued prior to the summer holiday season but there will be worries about how the news coming out of China affects the global economy.


China has driven supply and demand for commodities over the last few decades, but its economy seems to be ailing with President Xi asking the Chinese people for patience in his efforts to turn it around. With the Chinese property developer Country Garden potentially on the brink of collapse and its fellow developer Evergrande filing for bankruptcy in the US, this could ripple around the world.

However, more positive economic news out of the US and some European countries may help to balance this out. The impacts of all of this will become clearer over the next few weeks more likely.

The pound finished the week at $1.27 as it did last week, but was up a cent on the euro to €1.17.

Recycled plastics

Demand remains very low for all plastics. With much of Europe on holiday and many UK buyers the same, there is very little activity going on.

However, where there is trade, prices seem to be on a downward trajectory as those who have material to move are taking what they can from generally disinterested buyers.

This could just be down to the summer being slow, but consumption of goods other than food remains poor as people continue to deal with the effect of inflation.

The PRN/PERN came down by around £3-£4 this week which made little difference in the market.

Recycled paper

There are very few orders around with many traders also away, there was little activity going on.

Where there was, OCC tended to be a couple of quid lower than last week as everybody waits to see what September will bring.

The situation in China is causing some concern. While we don’t ship there directly anymore, a weakening Chinese economy will hit demand for the mills in South East Asian owned by Chinese companies, as well as those mills that sell pulp to China from India.

Other grades were largely stable due to not much moving on the whole.

Recycled metals

Copper dropped £225 per tonne as the market worried about the Chinese economy and its demand for industrial metals. Brass also lost £100 per tonne, but other non-ferrous metals were unchanged. Ferrous metals including cans saw a £10 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