Recycling prices and market commentary: 28 February 2020


Shipping recyclable materials was the key concern for this week’s recycling market.

While it didn’t decimate prices this week as some had predicted, there is no doubt that March, and probably April, are going to be tricky for export markets in particular.


Shipping lines have cut sailings to Asia from the UK due to ships and boxes being stuck in Asian ports. While people are back at work in most parts of China and the economy is getting back to normal again, there is an inevitable delay of six to eight weeks for the boats to arrive in UK and European ports again.

Containers, particular high cube containers, are still stuck dockside in China in particular waiting for the goods that will fill them to be sent over here.

The next few weeks are likely to be tricky.

UK material has benefited from the pound weakening against the dollar to $1.28 this week from $1.29 a week ago, making it cheaper when you can find deep sea destinations. The drop against the euro was even steeper, falling from €1.19 last week to €1.17 this week.

Recycled plastic

Shipping recyclable plastics to Asia has become more challenging over the past week.

As mentioned above, container and ship availability is challenging at best, and finding routes to Asia ports is difficult.

While material, film in particular, is moving into Europe, finding domestic buyers of plastic grades is getting harder too.

This helped to push the price of the PRN/PERN up to around £350 per tonne at one point, but it ended the week more around £340. The reason for it falling back appears to be resistance to the prices of certificates getting so high early in the year before the market has had the opportunity to fully analyse the data.

However, packaging grades did respond to the higher PRN/PERN and HDPE and LDPE matched the £30 certificate price rise. PET saw slightly softer demand, which meant it increased by £25 per tonne.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2507-513499-505

Recycled paper

There were fears that the market price would be decimated this week, but that didn’t come to pass. Those shipping recyclable fibre to Asia are struggling to get containers and boats to get them on, but if they are willing to pay the higher price, boxes are available.

But certainly Indonesian and Chinese prices dropped due to the higher shipping surcharges, and this pushed the overall OCC price down by £3 per tonne typically.

Most other grades remained fairly stable this week.

The outlook for the market over the coming weeks looks challenging though, and it looks like mid-April at the earliest will be when the shipping situation starts to stabilise.

Forecast prices

Mixed-3- -7-3- -7

Recycled metals

Copper grades dropped by £100 per tonne due to fears that coronavirus would hit Asian demand.

Other metals were relatively stable with the exception of ferrous grades that increased by £5 per tonne, including cans.

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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