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Global market demand for some recyclable materials have seen a sharp fall in value this month, April 2017. This is particularly noticeable in the exports which are sent to China, including paper & cardboard, ferrous scrap metal and the plastics markets.

Paper & Cardboard Recycling Marketcardboard bales recycling toddpak packaging compliance obligations

In March, above average prices were being paid in the export market for mixed papers and used cardboard, but, with rising shipping costs and global finished stocks increasing, the prices paid for these stream have fallen sharply in April. It is also questionable as to whether the quality pressures have affected the price, although many experts doubt this.

Mid-month indicators for both paper and cardboard in the domestic and the export markets have seen reduced prices across the board.

Some good news for those concerned is the market is unlikely to fall much further, instead, it could even make a steady increase. Falls in the market like end of March, beginning of April 2017 is some of the sharpest falls in the paper and cardboard recycling industry has ever seen.

Ferrous Scrap Metal Recycling Market

With only 4 months of the year gone, the ferrous scrap markets have experienced sharp swings in the prices, with many prices down in April.

Plastic Recycling Marketplastics bottles perns toddpak packaging compliance recycling

In the plastics recycling market, the Chinese customs authority’s National Sword inspection initiative is having a negative effect on the prices paid for plastic recycling bales. This is where the authority has identified plastics scrap as an area for action to tackle potential ‘illegal smuggling activities’, and ensure quality of grades. Rising freight costs have also contributed to the lower return.

The downturn in the plastic recycling market has been compared to with the 2014 Green Fence, when China restricted the imports of low grade, unsorted plastics into the country, resulting in a price drop.

March saw a reduction in price for low grade and mixed materials, with 80:20 film and 90:10 film among the worst hit. Whilst there has been a softening demand for PET grades, the demand for HDPE bottles has remained strong.


Packaging recovery notes have seen some affect from this, whilst most types have seen relatively small or no change in value, plastic PERNs have risen by 15 – 20 points during the past 6 weeks.

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Thirsk Industrial Park,
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01845 523 131

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