Recycling prices and market commentary: 20 September 2019


Recycling market volatility remains the key story this week, affecting plastic trading in particular.

The paper sector continues to be in the doldrums, while most metal grades also saw a fall.


More on all of this below.

Concerns are arising again about the prospect of a no deal Brexit and what this will mean for the recycling sector if we leave the European Union on 31 October under WTO rules.

While a tariff applicable to plastics, but not other grades, can be priced in. It is the uncertainty of whether European buyers will want to buy from the UK when freight and shipping is likely to be severely disrupted.

However, the prospects of a no deal Brexit seem less likely by the FX markets, with the pound gaining this week to reach $1.25 compared to $1.23 a week ago. While against the euro, it was also up to €1.13 from €1.11 last week. This makes UK material more expensive.

Recycled plastics

Recycling market volatility remains the key story as mentioned above.

With the PRN/PERN market all over the place, this means physical prices for packaging grades are all over the place too. It is making it very hard to price the material at the moment.

After reaching £450, the plastic PRN/PERN settled back down to around £430 by the end of the week. Last week, it had been in the region of £365 per tonne.

Bottle grades both increased with PET in particular gaining due to extra demand.

Film grades responded to the PRN/PERN increase, although domestic buyers tended to resist paying the higher prices. Into Europe, 98/2 remain popular and was strongly above the £600 level, while in the UK you could knock £50 or more off that.

UK buyers were backing off quite strongly against the very high 99/1 prices being paid in Europe, and were not prepared to match prices heading for £750 per tonne.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

You could hear a pin drop in the chasm of a no trading paper market, according to one participant.

Volumes of material being sold were tiny, with most of the Chinese buyers out of the market, and only some Indian buyers tending to represent Asia.

UK mills seem largely full, as do European mills. Therefore, not much is going on.

Those that were trading were pushing prices down, with £60 to £65 representing the top of the market into China, with lower spec material anything from £45 upwards.

As mentioned in the introduction above, trade into Europe remains a concern as we get closer to the 31 October Brexit deadline, with no certainty about what will happen yet. As the latest export data showed, Europe has proven to be a good market in recent months.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Copper, brass and aluminium grades all fell by £100 this week, over concerns about the global economy. If this doesn’t pick up next week, aluminium can prices could ease back.

Ferrous grades also fell by a further £5 adding to recent price drops. Steel cans also dropped by the same price.

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

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.