Recycling prices and market commentary: 20 December 2019

Plastic waste Indonesia

Christmas recycling markets are always unusual, and this year looks set to be more unusual than in previous years.

This year has been a volatile year for the PRN/PERN markets for plastics, and this continued into the week before Christmas. More on this below.


With paper prices being exceptionally low in the last few weeks, the Christmas recycling paper market was boosted a touch by the return of Indonesia to the market.

Copper saw the main increases for metals, while steel grades continued to rise too.

This week also brought two markets for some PRNs/PERNs depending on whether you were buying still for November and 2019 compliance or December’s transition period.

Paper for example remained at £1 for November but was £8 for December. Plastic is at £285 for November and £300 for December. Wood was at £2.50 and £4.50 for December. Steel was at £8 for November and £13 for December. Aluminium fell to £280 for November and was at £485 for December.

In terms of the currency markets, the pound fell to $1.30 from $1.33 making UK material a bit cheaper for deep sea destinations. Against the euro it dropped from €1.19 a week ago to €1.17.

This will be the final Recycling Prices and Market Commentary Report for 2019. The next report will be published on Friday 10 January 2020, with normal service resumed on on 6 January 2020. Thanks to all our readers and those who have contributed pricing data and their thoughts on the market throughout 2019. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Recycled plastics

It was a quiet week overall this week with much of the trade occurring at the beginning of the week in order to expedite freight and shipping ahead of the Christmas shutdown/slowdown.

Prices rose on the back of a PRN/PERN rise, with the typical price of the certificate between £285 and £300 depending on which compliance period the buyer was purchasing for (as mentioned in the introduction above).

Both PET bottles and LDPE film grades were up by £15 as a result, but extra demand saw a £30 rise for HDPE bottles.

The expectation is that 2020 is set to be like this year with volatility continuing, especially if export markets become more restricted.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2470-476481-487

Recycled paper

The return to the market of Indonesia, as revealed in last week’s report, helped to provide a small boost to the market. Prices rose by about £3 overall with material going to Indonesia typically attracting a price of up to £30 per tonne for the very best quality, but mid-£20s more likely. There is an argument that Indonesia overpaid and that it might fall back into the rest of the market range in the coming weeks.

Most of the market was below this though with low- to mid-£20s common for some other Asian destinations, and £10 upwards for UK mills, Europe and India.

There was no change for news & pam or mixed

Overall, the market remains quiet though, with the challenges of Christmas contamination and moisture from overflowing bins to look forward to on the return to work after the Christmas break.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Copper grades increased by £100 per tonne this week on the back of increased activity on the LME.

Only steel grades were the other change, with prices for all, including cans, increasing by £5 per tonne.

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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