Recycling prices and market commentary: 24 April 2020

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

It is quite a strange recycling sector at the moment as it comes to grips with what coronavirus means for it.

Prices for OCC have jumped considerably this week for example as European buyers in particular scramble for material. Mixed paper prices have jumped too, but not by quite as much.


But in the plastic recycling sector, everything was pretty stable, except for HD bottles that have slumped due to buyers now being well stocked.

The metals market has seen a bit more activity in the past week and that has seen brass and steel grades gain some value.

More on all this below.

In terms of market influencers, shipping costs have eased a touch.

At $1.23 the pound is a touch weaker against last week’s dollar of $1.24 making UK material a little cheaper in the deep sea market, but not by enough to make much difference.

Against the euro, it was also a little weaker than this time last week at €1.14 from €1.15 then.

Recycled plastics

It was steady as she goes in the plastic recycling sector this week, with one clear exception.

HDPE bottle prices fell back after buyers of the material reported they are well stocked. The flurry of milk buying at the beginning of the coronavirus lock down has eased, while that material has now made it onto the market creating a glut that buyers have taken. Demand for milk bottles has also eased as people switch from hot drinks to soft drinks due to the recent better weather.

Other grades are stable, aided by a static PRN/PERN price. With buyers of certification unwilling to pay more than the current price of around £250 per tonne, the market has maxed that out and trades remain small at that value.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

The value of OCC jumped massively this week with prices above £100 per tonne not uncommon if being sold into Europe.

Elsewhere was below this with some not willing to engage in these prices, especially deep sea destinations.

While there is strong demand for OCC from Europe, getting hold of it is a problem so while demand is good, supply is challenging.

A prevailing view in the market is that they need to make hay while the sun shines, especially after the recent recovery from very tough low prices. Few expect these high prices to last, especially once European collection volumes start to stabilise and more material can be provided from more local sources to the mills.

Mixed paper also responded with an increase in value to around £25, but demand for this grade is weaker, especially as European buyers know competition from Asia remains poor.

Interestingly, the paper PRN/PERN has increased to around £11 per tonne, which is a reflection of low arisings of material.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Brass grades increased by £100 per tonne, and steel grades (including cans) saw a £10 per tonne rise. This followed some more activity in what had been a pretty dormant market over recent weeks.

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.