Recycling prices and market commentary: 26 March 2021

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

It was a mixed week for the recycling industry with some prices up and some down.

As we hurtle towards Easter and the hoped for next easing of Covid restrictions, many in the market were buying or selling long for April. It then became a negotiation on whether prices were likely to rise or fall.


For paper grades, this especially wasn’t clear and more on this below. Plastics saw a PRN/PERN drop and that had an impact on packaging grades, with the exception of LDPE film. Metal grades fell pretty much across the board though.

In terms of FX, the pound was down to $1.37 from $1.39 a week ago. Against the euro it was unchanged at €1.16.

Recycled plastics

The PRN/PERN dropped by £15 per tonne this week, and nobody was quite sure why with no real data around to stimulate this drop.

This pushed down the price of bottle grades by £10 per tonne, but slightly more demand stocking up ahead of Easter helped to mitigate this fall.

Strong demand from Europe continued to push up the underlying price of LDPE film grades, and these actually increased by £10 per tonne. This appears to be driven by a shortage of raw material on the Continent due to Covid, and therefore the UK is seen as a good source.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2341-347340-346

Recycled paper

OCC fell in value for the second week running dropping down by £5 per tonne.

While some were still prepared to pay high prices, the market was split between those and the others who were lowering their prices. The latter found they tended to get orders.

This was partly as a result of people looking to buy and sell long for April, especially with Easter soon upon us. Therefore, many were trying to lock in mutually advantageous prices for the month that were lower that the top level spot price.

Mixed was a different matter though jumping by around £20 per tonne and just £25 off the headline OCC price. There are some who think the mixed price rise has legs, but it is dependent on how far OCC comes down again if it does and how much people are prepared to tolerate a narrow spread between the two.

Multi and SOW also seem to be on an upward trend, and there is a view that the price may rise after Easter.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Copper was the biggest faller this week with most metal prices coming down. It dropped by £200 per tonne. Brass was down by £25 per tonne, aluminium by £25 per tonne and ferrous grades, including steel cans saw £10 per tonne lopped off the price.

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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