Recycling prices and market commentary: 21 May 2021

Mixed plastics
Mixed plastics

Both paper and plastic recycled materials increased this week, but there was a first fall for a while for many metals grades.

In the plastic market, the key news about Turkey shocked buyers and sellers, but was not enough to change trades this week. If anything it helped to push the PRN/PERN price up that supported the physical price.


With the paper and cardboard market buying for June, this helped to create a little more demand that led to prices rising.

While ferrous grades were an exception, the recent run of ever increasing prices was halted for non-ferrous metals with most grades coming off.

The pound also got stronger against the dollar this week reaching $1.42 at the time of writing compared to $1.40 last week. There was no change against the euro at €1.16 though.

Recycled plastic

Clearly the news about Turkey deciding to ban import of plastics with the commodity code 391510 was the big news of the week.

There was a great deal of surprise at the news, especially as Turkey has become the main non-EU destination for these grades.

The news helped push up the price of the PRN/PERN to around £100 per tonne from £60 per tonne last week.

However, with the carry-in from 2020 totalling around 90,000 tonnes, and the latest data showing 400,000 tonnes has already been obligated up to the end of April, the UK is already close to meeting half of its annual target of around 1.1 million tonnes for 2021.

Despite the closure of Turkey, some are confident that this will supress the PRN/PERN value for the rest of the year as the target looks relatively straightforward to meet. Others are of the view that the PRN/PERN market is hard to predict and we just don’t know what will happen for the rest of the year.

While there remains some underlying demand for bottle grades, and these were pushed up by the PRN/PERN increase, film grades have less underlying demand and these only increased by £20 per tonne. There is a sense with the latter that European demand in particular is waning a touch.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2370-376370-376

Recycled paper

This week brought a surprise rise in the price of some key paper grades as the market looked to buy long for June. Buyers and sellers were happy to compromise on higher prices than seen last week in order to fix for the month.

However, spreads were also wide depending on quality and destination with mixed in particular seeing anything from £60 to £100 and OCC anywhere from £100 to £130.

India was back in the market a little for some orders, and South East Asian and some European mills were happy to pay higher prices. Indonesia seemed to be at the top of the market in particular.

As a result of many in the market buying long for next month, there is a view that trading might quieten off next week and in the first few weeks of June. Much will depend on supply and demand of course.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Some non-ferrous grades reduced in price this week. Copper lost £300 per tonne and brass £100 per tonne, but this followed weeks of rapidly rising prices.

Ferrous grades including cans increased by £20 per tonne.

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