Recycling prices and market commentary: 7 October 2022

Cardboard OCC
Cardboard OCC in a bale

Confidence remains weak in the recycling market but prices held up this week, with the exception of one plastic grade.

The PRN/PERN market continues to provide support, but demand for physical materials remains poor despite low arisings of material.


Economic fears are pervading the market and nobody really feels they can predict what the future might hold.

But with PRN/PERN prices still at high levels for most materials, this is affecting trading patterns for physical materials. Nobody wants to get caught out if prices of PRN/PERNs rise or fall, so are trying to hedge by trading some material one week and some more another. For OCC, this means there is some fortnightly trade going on rather than monthly.

Strangely, after the volatility that saw record lows for the pound against the dollar last week, this week saw the highest value for a month at $1.14 compared to $1.12 last Friday. Against the euro, the pound was also hovering at around €1.14.

Recycled plastics

The price of PET bottles has dropped considerably and they are now trading at around the £400 per tonne mark typically. Both domestic and European demand has fallen, especially as we enter the quieter winter period when less soft drinks are consumed.

But virgin PET has also come down in price, and manufacturers are well stocked with material.

HDPE bottles have also dropped by about £20 per tonne following recent price falls of virgin material and stabilising oil prices – OPEC is trying to change that though.

Film grades were relatively stable, coming off by about £5 per tonne due to a small underlying price drop mostly in Europe.

The PRN/PERN price was unchanged again this week at approximately £305 per tonne.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2595-601590-596

Recycled paper

It is interesting to see how much the paper and cardboard market is responding to the PRN/PERN price at the moment, when for many years it was a £1 or so bonus per tonne.

This week saw the price of this rise, but it was based on just a couple of hundred tonnes traded. It could have been that some were trying to get prices to rise, but the compliance schemes were not responding.

However, this helped to keep the price of OCC stable with no change on last week. Some buyers from Asia were active as they had orders and were topping out at about £90. But UK and European orders were poor, and some were offering very low prices in the hope of either getting an amazing deal, or more likely politely putting off sellers.

There might be a bit more movement next week as those who attempted to keep some orders back in the hope of a rising PRN/PERN, after trading some for the month last week, come back in.

For mixed, interest is really poor and discussion continues to be about the prospect of gate fee prices, even if that isn’t the current market price. It has fallen by about £10 per tonne though for the last couple of weeks and lost almost £50 in the last month.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Brass was down £50 per tonne this week, and lead was up £150 per tonne. There were no other price changes.

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