Recycled polymer prices continued to rise in Europe in April, but to a much smaller extent compared with the previous month. Recycled PET clear flake and food grade showed the highest increase with prices rising by €100 per metric ton.
Recycled low density polyethylene natural film prices have risen by €90/tonne. Most other classes and types saw gains of between €30-50/tonne. The sharply rising cost of primary material supported recyclers’ push for higher prices.
Higher virgin polymer prices and shortening availability also led to more converters seeking alternative supplies in the form of recycled material. Recycled plastics demand was particularly robust across the consumer goods sector driven by brand owners’ sustainability programs.
There was sufficient material across most recycled plastics classes and types in April to fully meet demand from regular customers, although it was harder to find additional volumes required to serve new customers. High-quality material was, however, in shorter supply.
In May, higher production scrap costs and higher energy prices led to further recycled plastic price increases across the board. Supply is mostly reasonably balanced for recycled LDPE, recycled high density PE and recycled polypropylene. Recycled PET bottle scarp remains short, although there are reports of an increase in imports from the Middle East and Africa. Recyclers are at least able to serve their regular customers properly, although additional volumes remain a challenge.
For recycled HDPE, slightly declining scrap material volumes and the continuing poor availability of additives are limiting the output of tube grades. Demand could thus noticeably exceed supply in this market sector.