Recycling prices and market commentary: 22 May 2020

Bales of OCC cardboard for recycling
Bales of OCC cardboard for recycling

As one recycling market commentator put it, “what goes up, must come down” and this was the case for certain paper grades this week.

This wasn’t the case for plastics where things stayed relatively stable apart from a minor adjustment for LDPE film.


Metal grades fared a little better with both copper and brass seeing price increases.

For those trading to the still limited deep sea destinations, the pound was a touch lower against the dollar at $1.21 from $1.22 last week, but not enough to make a big difference generally. It was unchanged against the euro at €1.11.

Recycled plastics

It was a fairly steady market for recycled plastics this week with little change occuring.

One price adjustment though was a £10 fall in the value of LDPE film, which came down due to the recent fall in the plastic PRN/PERN value. While the value of the certificate dropped by £20 two weeks ago, the price of physical LDPE saw the same change but over a two week period, coming down by £10 per tonne in each of the last two weeks.

There is some indication that there might be some additional demand coming from Europe for film in the coming weeks, but this has yet to happen and may not depending on how countries and companies emerge from lockdown. UK buyers appear pretty steady.

Bottle demand is still good and the recent PRN/PERN fall has not affected these grades, which remained steady over the last couple of weeks.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

The recycling market commentator that said “what goes up, must come down” as mentioned above, was referring to the fact that after the recent bubble where OCC reached up to £150 per tonne, it appeared this couldn’t last.

And it hasn’t. Prices were back down to anywhere between £70 to £100 per tonne, with most trades bunched around the £80 per tonne mark.

European interest is on the wane, with phone calls that were readily answered a few weeks ago, now not being answered. Claims from European mills also appear to be on the increase, when strong demand previously meant this was less of a priority.

UK mills also appear to be well stocked.

While there is some movement to some Asia, buyers there are sitting on their hands to see how low prices will go before coming into the market to achieve the best price.

All in all, the next few weeks look a little more challenging for the paper recycling market.

Although the PRN/PERN price has risen to £20 per tonne, this doesn’t offer much comfort to an industry that has seen £45 come off the price two weeks ago.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Copper was up by £100 per tonne and brass £50 per tonne on the back of increased demand on the LME. Otherwise, all other metal grades were stable.

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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