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Plastic bottle prices remain high but may start to ease off, say recyclers

Plastic bottle prices have remained high and in some cases have moved up slightly because of high demand across the market.

According to the current WRAP Materials Pricing Report produced by MRW, clear PET bottle prices are  £310-315 per tonne, while mixed bottles are trading at £157-170 per tonne. However, there is some speculation in the market that the price has begun to fall in China because it is not prepared to pay such high prices.

Eco Plastics  commercial manager Charlie Jones said: “The price does not reflect the value of the material, it’s just being pushed up by the people fighting for it and paying higher prices. There is a possibility that demand is so high because companies are moving away from using virgin plastic [which is currently at sky high values], to recovered plastic. There is certainly strong demand in the export market, which could be a result of China buying a lot following the Chinese New Year, so prices may start to tail off once they have bought enough material. But plastic film values remain low.”

Jones explained that film always suffers during the Chinese New Year but has not bounced back in the way other plastic grades have. “I would like to think recent price rises are not going to continue. The market has been quite aggressive recently and we saw price increases of £50-100 a tonne last month in some cases,” she added.

Closed Loop Recycling managing director Chris Dow commented: “There’s never been a more valuable time for consumers to participate in recycling, so their local authority receives the yield from the material. Prices are probably up near record highs, I’ve never seen prices like this. There has been a softening of the PET price in China, which seems to be because it got too high, so it is now levelling out.”

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