Recycling prices and market commentary: 18 March 2022

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

With the exception of PET bottles, it was a week where the market tried to work out what was going to happen over the upcoming period.

While PET bottles jumped up in price due to strong demand, other materials were largely stable across the board.


The publication of the monthly PRN/PERN data by the NPWD seemed to create a bit more trading activity in this market, waking it up from the slumber it had been in since January.

But for many, they are trying to work out what the higher cost of living, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic in Asia, will mean for recyclate markets. Nobody seems to know and nobody seems to like that uncertainty.

The pound was trading at $1.31 this week up a touch from $1.30 last week. Against the euro, the pound hovered around €1.19.

Recycled plastics

PET bottles saw very strong demand again this week from domestic and European sources. With a stronger plastic PRN/PERN too, this helped bump the price up.

The same wasn’t seen with other grades. There is a great deal of uncertainty at the moment, and many are speculating whether prices will be hit by weaker consumer spending over the coming weeks, or whether higher oil prices will continue to create demand at high prices for recycled content.

At the moment, nobody seems sure which influence will be stronger and therefore many don’t want to commit to trading for fear of losing out or getting punished by whichever way prices head.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2513-519515-521

Recycled paper

In terms of overall prices levels, many reported there was no change in value this week.

But for OCC there was a strange dynamic in the market, where two opposing sides emerged and didn’t meet in the middle – a bit like boys and girls at the school disco.

Asian mills were pulling back, not wanting to pay these high prices as they believe they are coming down. They were not active in the market hoping to come back when values are more palatable for them.

But UK mills remain short and were happy to pay well into the £170s for material.

However, the overall view remains that this market is no longer sustainable. The question is whether there will be a soft landing or a crash.

Mixed and other grades saw no real change in value with little trade taking place.


Recycled metals

Ferrous grades including cans were up by £10 per tonne this week. Aluminium cans also responded to recent LME price increases by also jumping up.

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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