Recycling prices and market commentary: 20 August 2021

Recycled paper pulp

Those who aren’t on holiday are increasingly focused on the September recycling market and trying to get a sense of what it will bring.

Nobody is quite sure as there are a lot of factors that will have an impact on where prices are headed, but the consensus seems to be that we are in a stable to rising market, for paper and plastics at least. Metals seem to be coming down.


However, haulage and shipping remain the great variable. Will it improve when drivers return from holiday and will easing oil prices lower shipping rates? Or is this a situation that is going to last into the autumn? For the time being, there is great uncertainty around moving material, and orders for lorries and boxes are having to be made in advance, and the fear of them being cancelled is real.

Foreign exchange-wise, the pound eased a touch against the dollar to $1.36 from $1.38 last week, and compared to the euro was at €1.16 from €1.17 a week ago.

Recycled plastics

Prices were stable this week for all grades, despite the approximately £10 drop in the PRN/PERN value for packaging grades.

Demand remains good for bottles and film and this helped to keep the price of these grades stable.

While some domestic reprocessors wanted prices to fall in line with the PRN/PERN price drop, sellers were looking at the September recycling market and anticipating that stronger European demand and the return of Turkey will further inflate prices.

However, with oil prices easing, if virgin prices also start to come off, this may put downward pressure on recycled grades.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2327-333333-339

Recycled paper

Key grades were stable in price this week, but all thoughts were on the September recycling market.

There is an expectation from some that prices will rise in the Autumn, especially if European mills continue to drive prices up at a time of the year that is traditionally busy.

Even though this is a quieter period typically due to holidays, European mills are still sending out orders and the hope is they will continue to drive the market.

Asian mills are a bit more uncertain as some remained closed due to Covid restrictions, although it appears easing of Malaysian restrictions mean mills there are getting up-to-speed again, albeit not at full capacity.

One factor that may help exports to Malaysia is that there still appears no sign of a tougher inspection and quality regime happening as previously planned from the beginning of September. Malaysia’s Government has just resigned, and with it coming out of Covid restrictions, there is no impetus for these new rules to be implemented – especially as the rules have not been published yet.

Haulage to Asia remains expensive and challenging, and that could put pressure on prices however.

There are a lot of factors that could have an impact on the market in coming weeks, but most in the market expect prices at worst to be flat, and at best to hit record levels.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Copper grades were down by £100 per tonne this week, while brass fell by £50 per tonne.

Steel grades, including cans, saw the first price change in a while losing £10 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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