The downward price trend for recycled plastics in Europe, which began late summer 2022, has continued at the start of the new year.
Recycled plastic prices fell in January and the price decline accelerated this month. The low level of demand because of the economic downturn is the root cause of the downward price trend. Other contributory factors include more competitively-priced virgin material and the lower cost of plastic scrap.
Material availability remains on the low side as recyclers are reducing operating rates at their plants to avoid a supply overhang amid the weak demand. Nevertheless, there was sufficient material to meet demand across all product sectors over the last two months. Supply has improved slightly this month as several recycling lines have been brought back into operation following maintenance. Material availability of recycled PET, polyethylene and polypropylene in particular has improved as additional capacity has back come on stream.
Recycled PET prices have come under the most severe downward pressure so far this year, falling by €125-150 per metric ton since the turn of the year. Recycled PP prices are down by €65-70 per tonne, recycled HDPE prices have fallen by €30-40 per tonne and recycled low density PE prices are €50 per tonne lower over the same period. Recycled high impact polystyrene prices have fallen the least, down by just €10 per tonne.
Recycled plastics prices are expected to continue falling over he next few weeks as additional supply is brought back on stream. The price slide is however expected to stabilize with processors likely to restock over the coming months.