Plastic industry figures are speculating that plastic prices could stay up in the wake of demand from China and UK reprocessing facilities coming online in the near future.
According to WRAP MPR/MRW prices, clear PET bottles are fetching £270-£306 a tonne and mixed are at £158-£166 per tonne. Film is at £280-£290.
Recoup director Stuart Foster said: “Prices were high across most of last year and were gently rising, so people are now paying top dollar for material.
“With plans for ECO Plastics to expand and the Biffa polymers plant coming online this year, there will be even more demand for material. So, there are no obvious reasons for prices to come off. It’s looking consistently high at the moment.”
ECO Plastics commercial director Duncan Oakes explained: “Plenty of demand is driving the price. Currently, the Chinese are buying heavily as they tend to in January to replace diminished supplies over Christmas. The cotton shortage is also having an impact because they are making polyester to replace it, which demands recycled PET, as it’s not economically viable to use virgin plastic.”
UK plastic recycling infrastructure is increasing as bottle recycler Closed Loop plans to expand, while J and A Young opened its first food-grade PET facility towards the end of last year and Eurokey Recycling soon comes back online following a fire which destroyed its plant in Enderby.
Foster added: “The theory was that there will be more infrastructure in the UK so more material will stay in the home market rather than go to export but I suspect 60-70% of material is still going to China.”