Recycling prices and market commentary: 28 April 2023

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

The publication of the Q1 data on the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD) caused a lot of worry for the paper and cardboard sector in particular.

But it also led to changes for other PRN/PERN values for plastics, glass and wood.


Although this is only preliminary data and maybe subject to change, it does have the ability to fundamentally change market sentiment, and this was definitely the case for recovered fibre (see more below).

At the end of this week, there was no change on last Friday’s $1.24 against the dollar, but against the euro it was down from €1.13 a week ago to €1.09.

Recycled plastic

Following the publication of the NPWD data, the PRN/PERN for plastic dropped by around £15 per tonne. This saw packaging grades ease back by the same amount generally.

With the data largely being where it was expected to be, there wasn’t anything to boost the PRN/PERN value as many had anticipated.

All eyes are now on the obligation when published in a few weeks to get a better understanding of the rest of the market for the year.

In terms of physical markets, there appears to be some softening of demand, but this hasn’t changed prices.

Recycled paper

It was a week of confusion and speculation the paper market, following publication of the Q1 NPWD data on Monday.

With surprisingly high amounts of OCC recycled in the first quarter, and lower mixed values, this lead to questions over the legitimacy of the data and also whether some material had been mis-described.

But the other side of the argument was that HMRC data for January and February had also shown high exports, so two sets of data would suggest there was high volumes of fibre being traded in Q1.

The situation was very tough for some who hadn’t expected the price of the PRN/PERN to come down and quite a few fingers were burned. It wasn’t the carnage some had predicted.

Although OCC was trading at around £115 at the beginning of the week, by the end it was more around £105. Despite all this, mixed held up.

Recycled metals

Copper fell by £350 per tonne, while brass and aluminium both lost £100 per tonne. Ferrous grades also dropped by £5.

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