Recycling prices and market commentary: 2 October 2020

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After being the dominant destination for UK material for so many years, now was the week when we finally said goodbye to China.

The final containers of paper and cardboard are now on the way there ahead of the import ban on foreign solid waste that is expected to be implemented on 1 January 2020.

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Of course mixed paper and plastics were banned in 2018.

At a time that is generally busy in the recycling markets in the run up to Christmas, the new month didn’t feel that way this year. Uncertainty around jobs and a Covid Christmas mean there is reluctance in the market to get too excited.

Plastic packaging grades eased down reflecting a PRN/PERN price fall, while paper grades were largely the same or dropped a touch. Metals too saw little activity in terms of price changes.

Even FX rates were not too different with the pound trading at $1.28 up a touch from $1.27 a week ago. The euro ended the week back at €1.09 after briefly hovering above €1.10 midweek.

Recycled plastics

Packaging grades saw a small drop in price this week as the PRN/PERN price fell by £5 per tonne. These grades tended to fall by the same amout.

However, at one point it looked like the PRN/PERN price was set to fall by more, but it ended the week only down on the week before by a fiver.

Bottle grades saw stable demand and the underlying price remained the same, with some indications HDPE might be set for some more interest as we head towards winter and more milk consumption in hot drinks. However, this can also be offset by low virgin prices.

Film grades fell back by the same amount as the PRN/PERN too, but there was a definite softening of UK demand. This was balanced out by some continued interest from European film buyers.

Forecast prices

1-week4-week
PET217-223218-224
HDPE395-401397-403
LDPE150-156151-157

Recycled paper

As the final containers headed off to China this week, it was definitely the end of an era. With a couple of weeks before US shipments end, there is still a small influence from China on the market though.

Attention has naturally started to focus on elsewhere, but trouble remain with Indonesia. While some have managed to get all of the documentation sorted and export approval in place, others are not there yet. It might be a few weeks before Indonesia shipments resume.

Other South East Asian markets have interest and are buying OCC but are happy for prices to ease down a bit especially as they don’t have any extra demand.

UK and European mills seem more reluctant to buy and to the frustration of sellers appear to be attempting to push prices down. Merchants are expecting them to come back in as they assume they need the material, but the mills say they are well stocked and don’t want to pay a premium.

Mixed remained stable as German buyers continued to take what UK material they can.

News & pam saw a £2 per tonne increase due to the fact that there has been more interest in richer mixed recently at up to £50 per tonne taking away some of the benefit of sorting the newspapers and magazines out.

Forecast prices

1-week4-week
OCC78-8278-82
ONP68-7266-70
Mixed37-4135-39

Recycled metals

Only lead saw any change this week dropping by just £25 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

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