Recycling prices and market commentary: 8 March 2019


Recycling trade remains challenging across most materials with demand for most grades still weak.

Prices also remained mostly stable with only a few grades changing value.


The paper market saw some demand from some players, but seems to be mostly in a monthly purchasing pattern at the moment.

Film grades saw some increased interest in plastics, but the market was otherwise stable. For packaging grades, the PRN/PERN data is becoming obsessive reading and there was an interesting revelation this week (see below for more on this).

Metals too were stable with only a small change for brass.

On top of this, shipping and haulage remains difficult to book with blank sailings to Asia affecting the former and a shortage of drivers and Brexit uncertainty hitting the latter.

One little glimmer of hope was that the pound fell again to $1.30 from $1.32 last week making UK material cheaper to deep water destinations. This wasn’t the case for trades in euros though, where it was mostly stable hovering around the €1.17 mark.

Recycled plastics

Film grades saw a small increase on the back of more interest from Europe this week.

With India pulling out of the market due to banning plastic imports this could have a downward effect on the market. Film is one of the few grades that India has taken in any volume, albeit in the grand scheme of things, it remains a relatively small player.

For those who deal with packaging grades, there was a surprise when the interim National Packaging Waste Database figures for Q4 were finally published. The Environment Agency had previously said it wasn’t going to release this, but rely on the final data.

However, the interim data shows a carry over of approximately 23,000 tonnes into 2019. This is worrying with a consensus growing that 2019 packaging targets won’t be met. What happens then is anybody’s guess at the moment.

The PRN/PERN price rose this week to around £125 as a result.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

The big three buyers for Chinese mills dipped into the market for OCC at best this week with their prices largely stable compared to last week.

But smaller companies exporting to China for independent mills seemed happy enough to buy and were a pound or two above the market.

With one UK mill also strongly buying, this helped to push up the price a touch.

However, there is a pattern at the moment where most companies buy at the beginning of the month what is needed then assess the market in the weeks between. This looks set to stay unless demand picks up.

Mixed paper lost a lot of interest this week with UK, European and Asian buyers all cutting back. Prices therefore fell. This was aided by very low US mixed paper prices and good availability meaning the focus for non-China Asian mills was on purchasing from there.

Forecast prices

OCC76-80 77-81
ONP95-99 96-100
Mixed18-22 20-24

Recycled metals

Brass dropped by £50 per tonne this week in what was a largely unchanged market.

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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