Recycling prices and market commentary: 9 October 2020

Mixed plastics
Mixed plastics

It was a nervous recycling market this week as many chose to hold their position, not knowing what next week would bring, never mind the next few weeks.

Many in the plastics sector were waiting for the publication of the monthly NPWD data this weekend to see what that might mean for the PRN/PERN price.


While those in the paper sector, if they hadn’t already done their October business at the beginning of the month, are seeing a market either easing down or just about holding its place.

Metals were pretty stable too with no real changes.

Across the board the nervous recycling market sees further regional lockdowns in Scotland and northern England ahead and wonders whether this will be like the spring lockdown or different.

With Brexit and the end of the transition period approaching at the end of the year, this is bringing uncertainty for trade into Europe too beyond that data.

For those shipping to the Far East, the pound was a touch higher at $1.29 from $1.28 a week ago. Against the euro is bounced around either side of €1.10 all week.

Recycled plastics

There wasn’t any movement in the price of recycled plastics this week as packaging markets awaited this weekend’s release of the monthly NPWD data.

That being said, there wasn’t too much optimism that it would make any difference with compliance virtually achieved, although to what extent illegal activity was involved in meeting this remains a key talking point.

Although the PRN/PERN price dropped by around £5, underlying market conditions helped to keep prices stable, although trading was limited. This may change next week depending on how the figures look.

Any trade that was taking place tended to favour Europe with UK buyers left active. Material was also heading to Turkey and Malaysia for film in particular.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

It was a quiet trading week due to many having bought for October in the previous couple of weeks.

OCC eased by a couple of quid with the UK and Europe now weaned off sending material to China and still not really sending anything to Indonesia. The latter may come back in the next few weeks, but companies are still struggling to get their registration document sorted, with just a handful worldwide now in a position to send material there – if they want to, and not all do just yet.

Other South East Asian destinations including Vietnam and Malaysia retain an interest, and along with some European and Turkish purchasing are keeping things ticking along.

German desire in particular for mixed paper from UK sources has helped keep the price of this stable, with the very best stuff able to attract up to £50 although most is below that. Packaging mills seem to like hard mixed at the moment, as they are still happy at the current price to sort out the brown from everything else. Newsprint mills seem to want the soft mixed and are sorting for their purposes, again enjoying a price that is still lower than the price for sorted news & pams.

However, there is also a great uncertainty around tougher lockdowns that are happening in Scotland and look set for northern England next week. While the early indications are that more supermarket tonnage is coming onto the market, there may be less retail tonnage from elsewhere with the shift to local authorities as last time. But this remains uncertain and will only become clear over the next few weeks.

Additionally, there looks set to be a lot of US tonnage that needs to find a home soon. China has largely been filling its quota from America and Japan this year and UK and European suppliers have found other markets.

But with the last containers leaving the US West Coast, China is no longer an option and other markets have to be found providing competition for UK fibre.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

There were no price changes for metal grades this week.

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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