Recycling prices and market commentary: 4 September 2020


It is a concerned recycling market at the moment, with many factors creating a great deal of uncertainty.

For paper grades, there was less interest from China and worries about Indonesia.


Plastics were hamstrung by a PRN/PERN market that ground to a halt over fraud fears, while also waiting to see what the next set of NPWD data will bring. Indeed, with the exception of a slight fall for paper PRN/PERNs there was no change in price for others with little being traded.

There are also fears about the wider economy and what this will means for producers, some of which may no longer be in business to buy the certification.

Only copper saw a change for metals this week in otherwise subdued trading.

Many also expressed concern this week that international markets appear to be getting tougher as the China ban approaches, and news that Turkey is planning restrictions. As noted below, the paper sector also has fears over Indonesia.

The pound ended the week where it was at the end of last at $1.32. Against the euro it was a touch stronger at €1.12 from €1.11 a week ago.

Recycled plastics

As mentioned above, it is a concerned recycling market at the moment, and plastics seems particularly worried.

Although the PRN/PERN price was unchanged, this was because hardly any notes changed hands.

Partly, this is due to waiting for the next set of monthly data on 10 September, but there is also a lot of concern about fraud in the PRN/PERN market. It is being suggested by some that there could even be organised crime involved in this fraud.

With the PRN/PERN market effectively broken at the moment, nobody is sure what to think and what it means for the physical market. It is a mess.

Otherwise, prices for the physical material were pretty stable this week, although demand for film was a little stronger from Europe rather than at home or deep sea destinations. This demand equation balanced out though, so there wasn’t any change in the price of film.

There isn’t a great deal of material about at the moment anyway, but there isn’t also strong demand for finished product either.


Recycled paper

The big concern for the recovered paper industry at the moment is what is going on with Indonesia.

It seems that UK material is being targeted at the moment, with other international suppliers such as US, Europe and Australia all able to send material there. With the Indonesian Embassy in London announcing recently that there will be no new registrations until further notice, it also seems that the country is making it tougher for existing UK exporters to send material there.

The problem is that nobody is sure why this action is being taken, and Indonesian representatives either aren’t available to answer or not saying.

This week saw less interest from Chinese buyers, and when combined with this Indonesian challenge, the two inspection destinations that had driven the market in recent weeks were no longer driving.

Other buyers were still paying similar rates to previous weeks, which brought the range anywhere from £70 for domestic mills (some are being quoted even lower than this) to mid-80s elsewhere. It wouldn’t be a surprise if these start to lower their prices in coming weeks if China and Indonesia don’t come back in.

One bright note is the performance of mixed. With two new lines operating in Germany, there is a lot of interest in this grade to that country in particular. Anywhere from £25 to £40 can be achieved, and sometimes even more for the best quality stuff.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Only copper increased in value this week, rising 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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