Recycling prices and market commentary: 27 August 2021

Cardboard OCC
Cardboard OCC in a bale

This week seemed to be about setting a benchmark for September in the recycling market.

Those who were buying seemed keen to prevent prices from getting out of hand, while those who were selling believed this week would see much higher prices across many grades.


While this led to some difficult conversations, compromises were being made on the whole. Some grades saw price rises or at least underlying price rises at least, but not perhaps the jumps that some had expected.

One major factor seemed to be that people were trading for throughout September, with that deemed easier to arrange still troublesome haulage and shipping as you need to book weeks in advance. Those trading in the weekly spot market next month may find it harder to move material.

The pound was a little stronger against the dollar at $1.37 from $1.36 a week ago, but remained unchanged at €1.16.

Recycled plastics

The PRN/PERN value fell again this week, down to the low £20s from just above £30 the week before. It wouldn’t be a surprise if it eases down further until the 2022 transition period begins in December.

This caused some grades to fall in value, film in particular, although bottles largely held their value.

With underlying demand, especially from Europe, still good, this helped to keep prices stable for bottles. LDPE grades dropped though after not responding to price falls in recent weeks.

A lot of trade, for film in particular, was done for the month to try to lock in current prices and deal with logistical issues. With some expecting PRN/PERN values to come down even further, it made sense to trade now while the opportunity was there.

Of course, this suggests the rest of September will be quieter.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2320-326320-326

Recycled paper

There were a lot of fractious calls in the market this week as sellers tried to extract the best price and buyers tried to calm their expectations.

While some stood firm and had no problem selling at the mid-£150s, others were constantly negotiating a bit above or a bit below this. Most of the market ended up just above this.

It was definitely the case that the market was, as in previous months, trading for the month. This was largely due to ensuring material can be moved over the next few weeks with orders agreed.

Demand was mainly coming from South East Asia and Europe, with the former seeking OCC and the latter mixed. Indeed, European demand for mixed helped push up the price by around £7 per tonne. But these high mixed prices were of little interest to Indian buyers, whose interest seems to have waned.

While some are hoping the market will continue to heat up in September if they still have weekly tonnage to sell, most expect the market to be stable, with this week setting the benchmark for the month, until everything kicks off again for October.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Brass and aluminium grades increased by £50 per tonne this week. However, ferrous grades, including steel cans, fell by £10 after suffering the same last week.

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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