Recycling prices and market commentary: 7 September 2018

Bales of OCC cardboard for recycling
Bales of OCC cardboard for recycling

Cardboard remained a strange material in the recycling market this week, with demand for it somewhere between desperate and not wanted.

This has led to the situation where some are still prepared to pay a high price, while the bottom of the market is £100 lower. More on this below.


There was no change in the value of plastic grades again this week, but the PRN continues to surprise.

Metal grades saw some falls with copper, aluminium and brass all dropping.

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Those who are able to export, are continuing to have issues with getting hold of containers and actually getting them on ships when they do. The new Terminal Operating System at Felixstowe that was installed early in the summer has continued to cause problems in efficiently servicing ships with containers.

Indeed, some ships have been forced to divert to other ports as a result of the congestion at the UK’s largest port. Bosses at Felixstowe are now reporting that the backlog is easing although it is happening slower than they would like.

The pound has risen a touch against both the dollar and the euro compared to last week, but not enough to make a difference.

Recycled plastics

The plastic market had been very quiet over the summer, but with many returning to work this week, it was a chance to reassess before deciding what to do next week.

There are two main topics of conversation though. One is where can material be sent to following the closure of almost all Asian markets, and the other is why are there so many PRNs available despite the closure of the Asian markets.

Perhaps the PRN/PERN price above £70 is helping material to move, but nobody is quite sure where it is going to, especially as Turkish demand doesn’t seem as strong at the moment. There isn’t the capacity in the UK for such a huge increase, while near European markets have been slow due to August holidays. Maybe more will become clearer.

Recycled paper

OCC continued to dominate the conversation. Some Chinese buyers, but not all, were prepared to pay above £180 per tonne, but the bottom of the market to India remained very subdued at less than £80 per tonne.

Exporters were particularly affected by the situation at Felixstowe mentioned above, so even if they could get material, they were having to spend a lot of time on the logistics of moving it.

With just 5 to 6 weeks left to get material on the water before the end of the 2018 Chinese quota period, it looks set to be another interesting period for Chinese exporters. With little idea what 2019 will bring in terms of both licenses and potential new Chinese restrictions or bans, there will be some crossed fingers that more will be revealed during this period. Obviously, with the hope that this will bring positive news for a sector that has felt like the bad news has kept on coming this year.

Other paper grades were stable.

Recycled metals

Copper, brass and aluminium all fell this week following easing on the LME. Steel grades were stable.

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


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