Recycling prices and market commentary: 4 December 2020


Increasing PRN/PERN prices helped prices of packaging plastics this week, while metal grades were also up to.

There was only minor change for paper and cardboard grades though.


Now we are in the December transition period for 2020 and 2021 compliance years, PRN/PERN prices are on the rise for plastic in particular, but also paper and aluminium (although the latter two only for 2021).

But whether this will push prices up is dependent on underlying availability of supply and demand from end markets.

With the Brexit deadline rapidly approaching for the end of the transition year, European buyers seem to be keen to stock up while they can, despite the challenge of getting vehicles to transport the material there.

On the other hand, the exchange rate between the dollar and pound strengthened to $1.35 this week from $1.34 last week over hopes that a deal will soon be agreed between the UK and EU for a trading relationship from the start of next year. The same effect wasn’t seen with the euro though as it dropped to €1.10 from €1.11 last week.

Recycled plastics

As mentioned above, increasing PRN/PERN prices helped to push up the value of packaging grades this week.

For 2020, the PRN/PERN was trading at around £20, and for 2021 around £74.

This saw bottles and film grades all increase by around £15 per tonne as a result.

Good demand continues to come from European buyers, who fear that supplies of UK material will be disrupted due to the end of the Brexit transition from 1 January 2021. They are therefore stocking up right now, and the increasing PRN/PERN price is helping too.

Asian markets though are being put off by high container prices with boxes and vessels tending to be prioritised for China at the moment, which of course is a market that hasn’t been able to buy recycled plastics for almost two years.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

It seems many traders bought and sold for December last week so the market wasn’t so active as a result this week.

Prices remained largely the same, except for a small increase in the price of news & pam as demand has increased just a touch as mills respond to higher mixed prices and more brown in the mix. Demand for over-issue news has also picked up quite a bit too.

Those shipping to Asia are finding boxes hard to get hold of and shipping lines are pushing up prices. They don’t expect this to change over the coming weeks. While those sending material into Europe are also dealing with a lack of lorries and drivers, despite good demand from European mills ahead of the end of the Brexit transition.

With foreign exchange rates rising and haulage/shipping more expensive, this is likely to have a dampening effect on prices. It just depends on whether additional demand balances this out or is strong enough to push prices higher, but downwards seems more likely this side of Christmas.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Prices for some grades shot up this week on the back of much stronger prices seen on the LME.

Copper grades were up by £150 per tonne, brass by £50 per tonne, while ferrous grades (including cans) rose by a fiver.

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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