The price of most recycled plastics has continued to fall in Europe during the last two months.
Recycled PET has seen the steepest price decline with clear flake prices down by a combined total of €160 per metric ton over March and April with food-grade pellets down by €100 per tonne over the same period.
Recycled low density polyethylene natural film grade prices have fallen by €50-60 per tonne with black extrusion pellets down by €40 per tonne and translucent film pellets down by €30 per tonne. Recycled high density PE prices have softened slightly over the last two months with blow molding grade prices falling €40 per tonne and injection molding prices €30 per tonne lower over the last two months.
Recycled polypropylene prices, on the other hand, have actually increased slightly; mainly because of better demand. Recycled high impact polystyrene prices have stabilized in a well-balanced market.
Low demand continues to characterize the market for recycled plastics with order activity well below what would normally be expected for the time of year. Only recycled PP and PS has reported an upswing in sales over the last two months.
Demand weakness can be easily explained by the slowdown in European economies and weakness in key end use markets for recyclate such as construction and packaging. Recyclate is also facing growing competition from the falling cost of off-spec virgin material and competition from cheaper imported material from Asia.
Recyclers have continued to curb production to avoid a build-up of excess stocks; yet there has been no major shortage of material reported.
In May, prices are likely to remain under pressure as a significant upturn in demand is not expected.