Recycling prices and market commentary: 25 March 2022

LDPE film

Is there a limit on how high plastic prices can go? There must be but it was another week of big jumps for recycled polymer grades.

Some key metal grades also increased in price.


But it wasn’t the same picture for paper grades, where the market was at best pretty static and possibly dormant.

The situation in Ukraine continues to focus minds, and is having different impacts on different markets. Plastics and metals are focussed on high oil prices and shortages of virgin materials respectively.

But for paper and cardboard, nobody is quite sure whether higher prices for consumer goods and energy/fuel will lead to less buying of stuff. Conversely, as was seen during Covid and recent months, a shortage of material availability has led to higher prices.

The pound was unchanged against the dollar at $1.31 this week. But it strengthened against the euro from €1.18 to around €1.20.

Recycled plastics

Recycled polymer grades continued to jump up in price this week on the back of very strong demand.

PET and HDPE bottles both gained ground as high oil prices forced up the price of virgin materials. LDPE was also boosted from strong demand from Turkey in particular, with buyers there worried about what the Russian invasion of Ukraine will mean for availability of material.

Following a strong increase in the price of the PRN/PERN, this also gave support to the market. Nobody was quite sure why the PRN/PERN market seemed to wake up this week, but it did. Some suggested it was a delayed reaction to the publication of data recently, as well as some speculation occurring.

What is clear though is that it is a very active market for plastics at the moment, and record prices are being achieved. The question though is how high can it go?

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2565-571568-574

Recycled paper

There wasn’t much of a market this week, with many reluctant to trade. Some interest continued to come from UK mills, but even they were pushing back on the prices they had paid in recent weeks.

European mills also seemed reluctant to get involved in trading discussions.

India was quiet, as if it was anticipating a price fall. With the news that India will be able to purchase from Europe again very soon, its options are now greater and this may mean its UK demand eases.

South East Asian mills were also less active.

Traders are trying to work out next steps. On the one hand, there isn’t a lot of supply around and this has helped to maintain the recent high prices. On the other, many are questioning whether demand is now going to fall with all of the high price pressures faced by consumers and whether mills are sufficiently stocked.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Strong demand for scrap helped to push up prices. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine leading to fears that supply of virgin materials may suffer, this has helped push up both the LME and the value of scrap.

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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