Recycling prices and market commentary: 29 March 2019


After a few quiet weeks, there was a lot going on in the recycling market this week with China and Indonesia causing lots of intrigue for recycled paper exporters.

A Chinese official has outlined that it might accept recycled materials as a commodity beyond 2020, but the lack of detail makes this really unclear.


While Indonesia has decided not to implement 100% inspections that were due to begin on 1 April 2019.

More on this below.

In the plastic recycling market, the PRN/PERN price has jumped again, and many in the market have decided to dive in and buy packaging grades.

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However, demand still seems flaky at best and next week could easily go back to being quiet across the market again. With global economic conditions poor, there is a lot of caution around, and buyers and sellers are waiting to jump in at the right time to maximise profit.

Other market conditions are good with shipping costs easing by up to $75, while the exchange rate for both the dollar and euro were stable this week at $1.31 and €1.16 respectively.

Recycled plastics

Certain packaging grades have jumped this week on the back of the stronger PRN/PERN price.

With it now at £165 per tonne, up from £155 a week ago, many in the market have decided it was a good time to jump in and trade.

This was aided by good demand from Europe, with the PRN/PERN price helping to make UK material exceptionally good value for them.

PET bottles were up by £10 per tonne. Although HDPE bottles remained stable, there is very good demand for them.

Film grades, however, saw the most interest jumping up into the mid-£400s for 99/1 and mid-£300s for 98/2.

PP packaging grades were also seeing demand too.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

A Chinese official has said that it might allow some materials to be exported to the country if they meet certain criteria as “general cargo” rather than as secondary materials.

Although there is a lack of detail on this including what materials it would cover, there are many fingers crossed that it could happen among recycled paper exporters and those who send their material via them.

There is a school of thought that China is beginning to recognise the importance of cardboard to its economy, and may allow around 6 million tonnes of very high quality OCC into the country to match the amount of board it exports as packaging.

However, this remains speculation for the time being, and there are some that are sceptical and fully expect China to end imports of solid waste by the end of 2020.

As ever with China, it may take some time for the exact picture to become clearer.

Indonesia has today announced that a planned 100% inspection regime and imposition of a 0.5% contamination limit has been suspended. It planned to introduce this on Monday, 1 April 2019.

Instead, it will revert back to the previous 10% inspection regime until further notice.

Looking at this week’s market, it was relatively quiet. Prices were stable as buyers tended to dip into the market.

With the next phase of Chinese quota not yet issued, there is a waiting game with the Chinese buyers just dipping into the market to fill what is left or to fulfil contractual obligations.

Mixed looks set to ease again in future weeks, as European mills appear to be full on the whole. Demand from permitted Asian mills is steady, but they can still pick up cheaper US tonnage.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Aluminium industrial and can grades increased by £25 per tonne this week in what was a relatively stable market.

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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