Recycling prices and market commentary: 3 April 2020


The coronavirus situation continues to work in weird and unusual ways on the recycling industry.

At the start of the lockdown, many would have expected prices to fall, but that isn’t the case in all markets.


For example, paper grades appear to be responding with higher prices, while plastics are looking to find a level.

Metal grades this week saw no change at all. More on all of this below.

Moving material into Europe is still possible and is often in good demand, especially as it is considered an essential service able to access green lanes.

Beyond Europe is more tricky though. India remains in lockdown, while Malaysia is also now in a two week lockdown and material can’t travel there. Other destinations are still taking material though, although this situation remains fluid.

Shipping availability has also improved, although shipping lines are warning that May might be tougher again due to more blank sailings.

Against the dollar, the pound was a touch higher than last week’s $1.22 at $1.23. While the euro was trading at €1.14 up from €1.11 last week.

Recycled plastics

It was a really mixed picture for packaging grades this week as the coronavirus situation affected the industry. PET bottles increased in value, HDPE bottles remained the same, and film fell a little.

More demand for PET from Europe due to increased soft drinks production as more people consume at home helped to push this back up after recent falls. Despite a small PRN/PERN price fall, HDPE bottle remained the same.

But falling demand from the Far East in particular, but also weaker European and UK demand meant LDPE film dropped along with the PRN/PERN price.

Indeed, the PRN/PERN price is proving a challenge at the moment to estimate. With producers not buying certificates, plus some recycling facilities closing or dropping production, both supply and demand appear to be falling. Understanding the dynamics of this and what it will mean isn’t easy and there are a lot of theories out there on what will happen as the year progresses.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2367-373373-379

Recycled paper

Strong demand for material from UK and European mills is helping to push the price of OCC and mixed paper higher.

Prices up to £60 per tonne were being offered for OCC, and may be even higher next week. The challenge is getting hold of enough material to service the orders, especially with most retail and industrial tonnage dropping off a cliff – with the exception of supermarket fibre of course.

Deep sea markets were more in the low- to mid-£40s at best, especially with Indian and Malaysia markets now harder to access.

Beyond the next couple of weeks, there is speculation that these prices won’t last, so many are trying to make hay while the sun shines, especially after the last few tricky months.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

There was stability in the metal market this week with no changes in price recorded.

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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