Recycling prices and market commentary: 19 May 2023

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

Last week saw the publication of the interim obligation data from the National Packaging Waste Database and it had an impact on this week’s market.

It is worth remembering this is interim data and not the final obligation, and it is estimated there are 700-800 companies missing, many of which are major household names.


This could change the obligation for 2023 and quite significantly. Of course, with often incomplete data published on irregular dates, there is always the possibility of a surprise with the PRN/PERN data and there impact on prices as anything can happen.

But for the week just gone, many PRN/PERN prices were lower, in what was also a market that saw underlying falls for some paper/cardboard and plastics grades.

The pound finished the week at $1.24 compared to the dollar, a cent down on last week, and at €1.15 against the euro up from €1.14 last week.

Recycled plastics

Underlying prices for both PET and LDPE seem to be falling with domestic and European demand weakening.

With the PRN/PERN also coming down by around £40 per tonne, it wasn’t a good week for plastic packaging grades.

Orders seem hard to come by for these grades and shifting material is becoming increasingly difficult. Many are hoping it is just a blip and that the period before everyone goes off on summer holidays will see some restocking.

But economies are struggling with no sign of the cost-of-living crisis easing just yet and putting more money in pockets for people to consumer more products.

Recycled paper

OCC dropped off this week again, although there wasn’t a lot of trade around for this or any grade.

Where there was material being bought and sold, it was typically in the late-£80s, early-£90s although there were some deals a bit above this, but not many.

With the PRN/PERN coming off by only £2 or £3 per tonne this week, some of this fall was underlying weakening demand from all regions.

Mixed has been relatively stable recently, but it couldn’t resist the pressure of OCC getting within £30 per tonne (don’t forget the PRN/PERN benefit for OCC within this) and it came down by about £10 or sometimes more per tonne.

All eyes now are on next week and trading for June.

Recycled metals

Copper lost £200 per tonne, brass £150 per tonne and aluminium £50 per tonne in a falling market. For the first time in six weeks, there was no change in prices for ferrous grades.

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