Recycling prices and market commentary: 22 February 2019


There was a bit of movement for paper recyclers this week, while LDPE was also a mover in the plastic market.

Some additional demand saw some paper grades rise a touch. LDPE meanwhile also increased due to more demand from Europe.


Overall though, a combination of it being half-term for schools and still the post-Chinese New Year period meant that markets continued to be quiet. It was also reported that arisings were generally low across the market.

But it is definitely the case that there is a bit more demand coming in from European markets for many grades. Whether this is a temporary thing, remains to be seen. It could be that European buyers are stocking up with cheap UK material ahead of the potential for disruption due to Brexit at the end of March.

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Against the dollar and euro, the pound registered gains this week making UK material more expensive. This was because the markets believe Prime Minister Theresa May will have no option but to request a three-month delay to UK leaving the European Union in order to avoid a no deal Brexit.

At the time of writing, the pound was trading at $1.30 compared to $1.28 a week ago. Against the euro, the pound was €1.15 from €1.13 last week.

Recycled plastics

Trading volumes were relatively low this week with many deciding to take a week off to look after the kids. With trading generally weak since the beginning of the year, it seemed the sensible thing to do.

But bottle prices remain strong and there are signs LDPE demand is picking up to. LDPE prices into Europe are increasing on the back of stronger demand – but as ever, only for the best quality material.

Turkey remains a challenge, but this could change over the coming weeks.

Material is also moving into Asian destinations with Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia all buying, but again with tough restrictions on what they will take.

There are reports though that Malaysian authorities are struggling to get on top of dodgy businesses that are importing poor quality materials and finding ways to bypass inspections. There is speculation they might have to shut the market down again to prevent this illegal trade into Malaysia.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

There was an improvement in demand this week from paper recyclers, but it wasn’t strong.

The main Chinese buyers were either out of, or dipping into, the market this week without really engaging strongly for OCC.

Other exporters to independent Chinese mills had more demand and were at the top of the market in the high £80s.

UK and European demand seemed to increase though, and one UK mill was making contact with traders it hadn’t spoken to for a while in order to purchase material.

The result of all this was to push up the price of OCC by around £2 per tonne overall.

Mixed paper saw improvement in demand from UK and Europe helping it to gain £5 per tonne.

The view of many paper recyclers is that this might be the start of prices rising in the next few weeks. Much will depend on the big Chinese buyers and how they respond to this increased UK and European demand. At the moment, they don’t look like they are ready to buy huge volumes in March, but that could easily change.

Multi also saw some increased demand, and there are signs this could also increase over the next couple of weeks.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Copper increased by £50 this week, but brass fell by the same amount. Otherwise, it was a pretty un-interesting market this week.

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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