Recycling prices and market commentary: 19 January 2023


Clearly, the situation in the Red Sea continues to be the dominant topic of conversation in the recycling market at present.

There is a clear consensus that the ongoing attacks mean that ships are likely to take the longer route around Africa in the medium- to long-term.


Therefore, this week was a time for working out the practicalities of that in the short-term and understanding what that will mean over the coming weeks, months and maybe longer.

For now, those exporting deep sea were hamstrung by not yet knowing February shipping rates when they were trying to trade for that month. It meant trading volumes were held up, and it may be that next week brings more interest once exporters know where they stand (assuming there are no more surcharges which is never a given).

February is expected to be the real crunch point as the combination of the usual Chinese New Year disruption as containers and vessels get stuck at port, as well as the delays caused by longer transit times comes together all at once.

Expect it to be a bumpy ride for the coming few weeks until everyone gets used to the situation or things start to resolve themselves.

The pound was down a cent to $1.26 from last week, and was unchanged at €1.16.

Recycled plastics

Trading into Europe is said to be steady, with some added interest also coming for higher quality LDPE film.

Elsewhere, material is moving and deep sea trade is continuing but those trading with Asia are having to think about more about containers, vessels and price.

The PRN/PERN was up in value this week by about £30 per tonne. This seemed to be a consequence of January still being a transitional month, so people were trying to complete their 2023 compliance still. Of course, this had an impact on January 2024 values too.

Recycled paper

Where trading was occurring for OCC, it was at slightly higher values than last week, which seemed to be a consequence of the price settling around a consensus rather than the wide spread seen at the start of the year.

Domestic buyers were typically at the bottom of the market, while deep sea destinations were at the top.

Mixed was stable, news & pams/over-issue news down a touch and multi up a bit.

As mentioned above, the market this week was waiting to see what February shipping rates would be and this was making it hard to trade for that month without that information. This meant it wasn’t a hugely active market, but this may change next week if these rates are shared and February buying can begin. This doesn’t mean that negotiations between buyers and sellers will be easy though.

Recycled metals

The news about the shutting down of the blast furnaces at Tata Steel’s Port Talbot plant hasn’t affected the ferrous market as yet, but is bound to be in discussion next week.

Only copper saw a price change this week, rising 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