Recycling prices and market commentary: 31 August 2018


With it being the week of the only summer Bank Holiday in the UK, recycling markets were inevitably quiet as people took the opportunity of a week off with only four days holiday taken.

As we head into September next week, and back to normality, there is a lot of trepidation around over what the autumn will bring.


There are fears that still permitted exports to China will ease as the year goes on, and there is no clear idea what end destinations for plastics grades will look like.

Despite that, material prices have remained good, or in come cases, got stronger over the summer. Where they are headed as we head into autumn is much harder to predict.

Got 5 minutes to spare? Why not book your place at the REB Market Intelligence Summit and Pub Quiz. More info here

Market conditions though remain stable with demand where available still good. The pound at $1.30 has strengthened slightly on last week’s $1.28 over a bit more optimism that there will be a Brexit deal. The pound also improved a touch to €1.11 from €1.10 last week.

Shipping costs also look stable for September, although container availability is still said to be a struggle as mentioned last week. There is also a view that shipping lines will soon start to push for higher freight prices.

Recycled plastics

Markets were quiet this week with exporters in particular beginning to wonder where they can send material with Asia effectively closed.

Poland and Turkey also appear resistant to material at present.

UK recyclers are finding the phone is ringing a lot more, and expect this to continue in the coming weeks.

Next week could also see the plastic export market become more challenging if a Norwegian proposal to remove plastics from the green list is accepted at the next Basel Convention meeting.

PRN prices for plastic packaging grades have eased a touch back below £70 at the bottom of the range.

Recycled paper

OCC prices have gone higher again this week, with some exporters prepared to pay up to £185. Two of the Chinese buyers have been paying above £175 per tonne, but the other has been closer to £150 per tonne.

The bottom of the market to India in particular is closer to £75 to £85 at the moment, with the rest somewhere between these two export extremes (that is based on quality and specification of course).

While some are starting to wonder if £200 for China specification OCC is on the cards in the coming weeks, others are starting to see a strengthening pound, potentially higher shipping costs and falling demand from China and other destinations hitting the value. Also, despite the 25% tariff, US material is preferred by the Chinese.

Indeed, there is a suggestion that Chinese license quotas might be close to being filled for 2018, and there will be a severe drop in demand as the remainder of the year goes on. Much will also depend on confidence over 2019 quotas and indeed whether China will remain open as a market.

Mixed paper increased in value again this week by £5 per tonne, with UK and European mills in particular taking the material after inventories bought for the summer needed replenishing.

Recycled metal

Metal prices were stable this week, but a stronger dollar and ongoing tariff issues between China and US could start to hit values in coming weeks.

Recycling prices

Due to issues with slow loading or not loading at all, the pricing data previously on this page will now be displayed at the bottom of each material specific page. The loading issue was due to too high volume of data loading simultaneously and taking up too much memory on the server. Apologies for any inconvenience.

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



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.