Recycling prices and market commentary: 22 January 2021

Cardboard OCC
Cardboard OCC in a bale

Discussions in the market continue to be dominated with the trade into Europe whether you are sending material there of not.

With generation of recyclables low at present due to the lockdown shutting businesses and consumers waiting for January salary and credit card bills to be paid, there is good demand for most grades of recyclables.


For paper grades, prices seem to be rising and there is some confidence they may rise further in the coming weeks.

The situation is a bit different for plastics but all grades held steady this week despite a rise in the PRN price.

There was also a rise for some industrial metal grades.

Against the dollar, the pound was stable from last week at $1.36. It was also unchanged against the euro at €1.12.

Recycled plastics

Despite the PRN/PERN price rising to £115 per tonne from £100 a week ago, there wasn’t the same uplift in terms of physical prices for packaging grades.

With the impact of the Basel Convention rules, the UK mess in terms of non-OECD temporary export prohibition and uncertainty over exporting into Europe trade is very slow.

Domestic plastic recyclers, who are of course unaffected by the above, are tending to adopt a wait-and-see approach especially as they are hoping for a rise in the PRN price while having the option to pick and choose the best quality material.

But there is also a view that this cannot continue and material will start to move more freely again as we head into February and everyone gets used to the new reality (and paperwork).

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2257-263255-261

Recycled paper

Unlike plastics that has had its Asian market cut off, the Indian and South East Asian markets are helping to keep material moving.

Some of the buyers for South East Asia were more active in the market this week. There was also interest from India, especially from those looking to make pulp to send to China.

Trade into Europe remains challenging but mills there are also keen to buy UK material if you can get it there.

For OCC, this was helping to push prices into the region of £95 plus and above £100 for some non-inspection high quality material into South East Asia. UK domestic mills were hanging back in the lower £90s, sometimes a bit below this.

Mixed is now above £50 per tonne for most trades and continues to get interest from Europe in particular, but also from Indian and South East Asia.

News & pam has also had good interest and has seen its value increase.

The problem for all of these is that there is a lack of generation with no tonnage coming from hospitality, reduced volumes from retailers and a lull in household collection.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Copper and brass were the only movers this week with the former increasing by £75 per tonne and the latter by £50 per tonne following increases on the LME.

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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