Recycling prices and market commentary: 28 August 2020

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

As we head towards the end of summer, the market for recyclate is looking ahead with a great deal of uncertainty.

September had traditionally been when the market returns to normal after the summer holidays, but nobody is quite sure what normal is anymore.


For the time being, it seems the opportunity to send permitted materials to China is still there and certainly the paper market is taking advantage even if quota continues to fall.

There is also a lot of uncertainty around Indonesia for the paper market (see below).

In plastics, the PRN/PERN price continues to be the main topic of conversation, and this week much of it also involved some scratching of heads too.

There wasn’t too much change in the metals markets, apart from copper which fell again.

Those shipping to deep sea destinations saw the pound strengthen slightly against the dollar to $1.32 from $1.31 a week ago. Against the euro it was unchanged at €1.11.

Recycled plastics

As mentioned above, it was the PRN/PERN that dominated chats again this week. On one well used platform, the price of the certification jumped up to around £55 per tonne from just under £40 last week, but for many this did not seem realistic.

Therefore, some thought that this was probably a bit of speculation.

As a result, physical material typically didn’t respond with the same price increase as traders were unsure whether this was a real PRN price or not.

Bottle grades increased by about £5 per tonne taking into account some increase in the PRN price.

For film, while there was some demand in Europe, this was not enough to push the price up due to weaker demand in both the domestic market and Asian markets so the price remained the same this week.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2177-183173-179

Recycled paper

There remained some heat in the market this week as domestic and European mills came back into the market looking to match the Asian buyers, or at least be a little bit behind them.

With material thin on the ground, and a bit more demand, this helped to elevate the prices of OCC, news & pam and mixed.

OCC saw the bottom part of the market rise up closer to the top, so that £80 was the minimum in the market, while close to £100 was the maximum for inspection destinations.

China was near the top, as was Indonesia. However, there is some concern with the latter especially since it suspended new registrations and this appears to be for the UK only. Market participants aren’t entirely confidant in Indonesian procedures at the moment therefore.

Mixed was also seeing a lot of interest and getting above £20 and sometimes £30 wasn’t unusual, especially as it remains cheap in comparison to OCC and there was good demand for it from UK and European mills.

With a lack of soft mixed around, there was also more demand for news & pam with the price increasing by around £5 per tonne.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Copper saw an decrease of £100 per tonne, but otherwise everything else was stable this 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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