Recycling prices and market commentary: 29 November 2019

Cardboard recycling

The paper recycling industry appeared to be doing Christmas shopping in Black Friday week as there wasn’t a lot of trade going on and the market was largely static.

This was also the case with the plastic market.


One exception was the metals market where copper, aluminium and ferrous grades all increased, but brass prices fell.

In the recycled plastic market, there was a wait and see approach ahead of entering into the compliance transition period, while many buyers are well loaded with stock.

The paper recycling industry is still coming to terms with extremely low prices, although OCC and mixed at least stayed stable.

It now appears that Indonesia is closed to all materials for the time being as reported here. It also isn’t clear if there will be any implications as a result of Malaysia returning 42 containers back to the UK and working with the Environment Agency on inspections.

For those trading overseas, the pound strengthened a touch against the dollar to reach $1.29 compared to $1.28 a week ago. It was also stronger against the euro at €1.17 from €1.16 last week.

Recycled plastic

The plastic recycling industry was in wait and see mode this week.

While many UK and European buyers are well stocked, there was also uncertainty around whether shipments to Malaysia would become more difficult as a result of 42 containers of illegal plastics being returned to the UK.

With the compliance transition period for 2019/2020 starting next week, there was also a pause in PRN/PERN trading, and subsequent physical trading, as companies wait to see where prices will head now that the 2020 compliance period has an influence.

No change was seen to prices of either the PRN/PERN or the physical material as a result.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

It was mostly stability for the paper recycling industry this week with OCC and mixed paper both remaining at the same price as last week.

Market participants have become resigned to these low prices and now just want to ensure that they keep material moving, and hope the market comes back in the next six months. As one person put it, we are now dealing with 1980s paper prices, and 2019 costs. It isn’t a good mix.

For OCC, material was trading in the low-teens to low-£20s depending on quality, destination and existing relationships. Mixed paper was in the range of £5 to £10.

News and pam also dropped down, by about £8 on last week to £52 per tonne.

Other grades seem to be holding onto their value for the time being.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Unlike other materials, there was a bit of movement in the scrap metal market this week.

Copper increased by £25 per tonne on the back of increased demand. Aluminium increased by the same amount, but brass dropped by £25.

Ferrous grades, including steel cans, increased by £10 per tonne.

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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