Recycling prices and market commentary: 19 August 2022

Cardboard OCC
Cardboard OCC in a bale

The influence of the PRN/PERN hung over the physical market this week helping to boost both plastic and paper prices.

With the plastic PRN/PERN breaching £300 and the paper above £30, this helped to support the price of key packaging grades.


This meant price increases were seen, instead of the falls of recent weeks.

But the underlying picture remains weak, and the market is still in the strange summer period. The question as trade begins to happen for September will be whether there is enough momentum in the PRN/PERN market to keep prices where they are or even push them up, or if underlying economic weakness will bring values down.

Another warning is a potential strike from this weekend at the port of Felixstowe and what that will mean for exports. But there is also a potential delayed effect in a few weeks time if supermarkets and other retailers are unable to bring in goods for the next week or so.

The pound fell to $1.18 this week from $1.21 last week. Against the euro it was stable at €1.18 also.

Recycled plastics

Speculation in the plastics PRN/PERN market helped push the price beyond £300 this week, which supported trade of packaging grades.

After gaining more than £120 in the past two weeks, the PRN/PERN has helped to bring about more trade in plastic packaging grades.

Bottles didn’t get quite the full amount of the boost due to little UK and European interest. This was largely down to buyers being well stocked into summer but demand from corporates remains good for recycled content. Indeed, with prices still a bit lower than they have been in recent months, and the PRN/PERN providing support, there is more comfort at price levels.

South East Asian demand for LDPE film is good and the export market is helping to keep prices higher, espcially with favourable exchange rates.

EU buyers are also interested due to the support offered by the PRN/PERN, but this interest is variable as some are still trying to force prices down. In fact, the underlying price is still creeping a little lower.

There continues to be good demand for film grades, because companies want recycled content. When combined with prices that they will consider paying for the premium over virgin, the market seems to have a good equilibrium for the time being. As many will know though, that can easily change.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2710-716717-723

Recycled paper

It is often that the PRN/PERN has a strong bearing on the recovered fibre market, but it did this week.

With prices somewhere in the region of £35, this helped to push OCC back up a touch. However, it was only by a few quid, but it was enough to provide some support.

This wasn’t the case with mixed paper, which continues to lose its magic. While most of the market was somewhere in the region of £55 to £75 and some orders a bit higher, there were some report of trades at less than £40. It is a wide spread, and many expect the spread to tighten in the coming weeks especially as German demand has suffered.

This week also brought news that PM4 at DS Smith’s Kemsley mill is down, and this is also having an impact on demand.

While the PRN/PERN has brought some stability this week, all eyes are on next week as people start to think ahead to September and what that will bring. They aren’t feeling confident at the moment.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Brass increased by £50, aluminium by £100 and ferrous grades were up by £5. But copper didn’t follow and lost £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