Recycling prices and market commentary: 28 July 2023

Cardboard ready for recycling

While Europeans were sheltering from an intense heatwave in late July, Asian reprocessers had their minds on Christmas.

A last-minute surge of recovered paper orders from Indian mills looking to create goods in time for shipment to China ahead of the festive packaging rush boosted the UK sector.


Mixed paper prices rose accordingly, while multi-grade fibre fell due to the lower demand from Europeans gearing up for the traditional August shutdown period.

Elsewhere some plastic grades fell in value as the summer holidays progressed, but certain copper products moved in the opposite direction.

The pound remained flat against the dollar, staying at $1.28. It rose 2 cents compared with the euro, to €1.17.

Recycled plastics

Polymer prices have reduced further to the lowest they have been for many years, causing a softening in the value of many grades of recovered plastic.

On top of this, consumer spending is down in light of rising interest rates and economic uncertainty.

Many plastic recyclers have shut down for extended periods this summer, leaving a reduced market for the material.

Virgin prices are also weak, and operating costs are high, leaving pressure on recyclers.

Recycled paper

Renewed interest from India in recovered UK paper helped mitigate falling demand from Europe where rising costs and reduced consumer buying activity have hit mills.

Production stops have been reported in countries including France and the Nordics, a situation unlikely to ease over the summer.

However, rising demand from Asia, as firms there battle looming deadlines to fulfil pre-Christmas orders, has kept certain grades buoyant.

Mixed paper prices were up £7 per tonne this week.

Recycled metals

While most copper grades rose by £40 or more this week, steel products went in the opposite direction, albeit by a smaller amount.

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