Recycling prices and market commentary: 25 October 2019

HDPE bottles recycling
HDPE bottles baled for recycling

With the National Packaging Waste Database Q3 data being published this week, this had an impact on PRN/PERN prices.

In particular, the plastic PRN/PERN dropped considerably on the assumption that it will be easier to meet the compliance target this year.


As a result, packaging grade prices also fell. More on this below.

OCC prices also continue to hit new modern-time lows, with prices this bad not seen since the crash of 2008. This hasn’t been a crash, but a slow, gradual decline over many months that has had the same impact as a crash. Again, more on this below.

Not much happened in the metal markets with only brass and stainless steel grades seeing any change.

For those exporting, the pound was largely similar to last week against the dollar at $1.28, a touch down on $1.29 a week ago.

Against the euro, the pound was unchanged on last week at €1.15,

Recycled plastics

The key driver this week was the publication of the National Packaging Waste Database Q3 data. As a result of it looking like this compliance period will be easier to meet than previously thought, the plastic PRN/PERN price dropped by £50 per tonne to £290.

The impact of this was to push bottle grades down by the same amount.

Strong demand for film grades mitigated some of the impact but a fall of £40 was seen generally.

Demand into Europe remains strong for film grades in particular, while UK buyers across the market are resistant to getting into a price war, particularly in a falling market. Indeed, if anything, they are seeking to push the price even lower.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

The market for OCC remains really, really tough.

In 2008, there was the famous crash in October when prices fell to almost nothing before beginning a period of recovery over the next few months.

October 2019 hasn’t seen a crash, but as mentioned above, there has been a very slow decline in prices over a number of months.

Since £90 per tonne was the price we gave in our report of this year, the value of OCC has more than halved to £44 this week.

The best price we heard this week was £50 to Indonesia, but anywhere between mid-£30s to low-£40s was common.

With China now largely out of the market due to no longer being able to ship to meet the 2019 quota period, this has also helped to suppress the market.

Reported shipping price increases in November, aren’t likely to help when China returns for 2020 quota, or for those exporting elsewhere.

Mixed paper also felt the pressure with it dropping by a couple of pounds per tonne. With much demand coming from Europe in recent months, the recent rise in the pound against the euro hasn’t helped mixed.

All in all, there isn’t a lot of optimism around in the paper market right now.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

There wasn’t much change this week for most metal grades.

Brass dropped by £75 per tonne, while stainless steel grades eased by £25 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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