Recycling prices and market commentary: 19 February 2021

Cardboard OCC
Cardboard OCC in a bale

It was a mixed picture in the recycling market this week, with recycled material traders seeing different performance for different grades.

While paper was relatively steady, with only OCC increasing a bit, plastic packaging grades saw a bit of a decline. However, industrial non-ferrous metals saw some big jumps in value.


Moving material seems to have got a bit easier into Europe though, as recycled material traders get used to the new system.

While there are still delays occurring, particularly those trying to move material via Dover to Calais, going into Rotterdam and other ports seems to be working fine.

The pound had reached $1.40 at the time of writing, its highest since April 2018. This has the effect of making material going to Asia in particular more expensive.

Against the euro, the pound has also risen to €1.15 from €1.14 last week.

Recycled plastics

With the PRN/PERN price coming down by £10 this week, bottle grades also dropped by the same amount, with interest in these grades still subdued thanks to lockdowns.

LDPE film came down even further, losing £20 per tonne. With film, there are effectively two markets, Europe and elsewhere.

While demand remains good from Europe and prices are even increasing for good quality material, it is a different situation with domestic buyers who are not interested in getting anywhere close to European values. With Turkey still proving a challenge and South East Asia effectively closed, there is no demand coming from there either.

This means that overall though, there was more downward pressure on film grades than upward pressure.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

There was some demand from Indian and Asian mills that helped to boost the price of OCC this week, but otherwise markets were steady.

Paper traders are finding there remains good demand from Europe, but there was no price increase this week.

Arisings are still challenging to get hold of, but a bit more seems to be coming through the domestic stream.

Looking into March, those hoping for price rises are feeling optimistic with demand good and supply weak. However, there are some who feel that mills may become resistant to the prices being paid.

But with a shortage of finished product being widely report in recent weeks, it may take a little while for that resistance to come true.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Price rises on the LME saw big jumps for some non-ferrous metals. Copper grades surged up by £150 per tonne and brass was up by £125 per tonne. Other grades remained 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

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