Recycling prices and market commentary: 24 September 2021

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

It was another week when the logistics of moving material continued to dominate the working lives of traders.

Prices for paper grades on the whole didn’t change too much, plastic packaging grades were boosted by a higher PRN/PERN price and some metal grades dropped in value.


Those in the market were on the phones speaking to hauliers and shipping lines, trying to book weeks in advance rather than talking to other buyers or sellers on the whole.

With economic worries, not just in the UK but globally, also in the back of minds, there has also been a slight easing of demand from some buyers.

Looking at foreign exchange, the pound eased to $1.36 from $1.37 last week, while against the euro, it fell back to €1.16 from €1.17 a week ago.

Recycled plastic

A sharp rise in the PRN/PERN to £48 per tonne added value to packaging grades this week.

This jump in the price of the certificate was due to the same reasons mentioned last week, that those who have PRNs or PERNs to sell, are nervous of doing so in case they raise the attention of the increasingly difficult Environment Agency.

For those who still have obligation to fill, it is a strange situation as they expected prices to remain low as the UK appeared to be meeting its targets.

The implication of this was that both PET and HDPE bottles increased by £10 per tonne (suggesting underlying prices were a little lower), while film grades were up by £15 per tonne on the back of European demand.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2344-350340-346

Recycled paper

Paper grades remained stable this week as the logistics of moving material continued to focus the minds of the market.

With it typically requiring bookings of haulage or shipping to be arranged two weeks in advance, those who were trading this week were buying ahead for October.

Most seemed happy to get trades done at these levels, without haggling over a pound or two as that added valuable time that could be used for moving material.

While up to £160 could be achieved, most in the market were mid-£150s or lower for OCC. Trading for mixed and news & pams also saw no change from last week.

Concerns are starting to be raised around moving material at Christmas, with the logistics situation expected to get worse around then as drivers take holiday, or deciding to jump ship to move to those offering higher wages than container or bin lorry drivers.

As a result, some are trying to get everything done in October and November, in expectation that December will be even more challenging.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Copper grades were down £25 per tonne this week, brass by £50 per tonne, but aluminium saw the biggest drop losing £100 per tonne.

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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