Recycling prices and market commentary: 3 December 2021

Cardboard OCC
Cardboard OCC in a bale

It was another week when logistics and plastic PRN/PERNs dominated the conversation.

Those who are sending material into Europe are working on a 17 December deadline to make sure it arrives prior to Christmas, so the next two weeks are about getting vehicles secured.


For the plastic and glass market in particular, the beginning of the transition period for 2021/22 has brought about a wait-and-see attitude until it becomes clearer what is happening with the PRN/PERN price. Having said that, it has been so volatile lately (partly in thanks to interference from regulators), that best guesses and estimates might be the approach taken this month and next.

Metal prices continue to yo-yo still with industrial grade non-ferrous metals dropping again this week.

The pound was stable at $1.32 against the dollar, but dropped from €1.19 to €1.17 this week.

Recycled plastics

As we ticked over into December and the beginning of the transition period for 2021/22, the plastic market waited to see what was occurring with the PRN/PERN price. With only tentative steps taking in this market, there wasn’t enough evidence to get a sense of where the price was headed.

But as mentioned above, the market has been so volatile recently, that it is hard to tell where it will go and assumptions might have to be made.

While the price of the PRN/PERN was up by around £10 per tonne, this did not affect trading prices too much.

Bottle grades were stable, while film increased by around £5 per tonne thanks to underlying demand, with Europe in particular looking to stock up prior to Christmas. With logistics challenging, there is only really a couple of weeks to get material over there.

PP grades continue to be in demand too.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2435-441438-444

Recycled paper

It is a race against time to get material to European mills, and those who are trading there spent this week dealing with logistics rather than new trade. With a 17 December deadline, this is likely to be the focus for the next couple of weeks. After this, deep sea destinations may be the only market until January.

There was still some demand from Asian mills, although not dramatically so. Top prices were paid by pre-inspect destinations and £130 per tonne could be achieved for OCC for some of these.

Most of the market was somewhere in the £120s apart from domestic buyers who were £10 below this.

Mixed continued to hold up, but a bit of downward pressure was inevitable after recent falls in the price of OCC. Just below £100 is more common, but up to £105 could also be achieved.

Otherwise, most grades were stable.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Copper dropped by £300 per tonne this week, while brass fell by £50 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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