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Plastic film prices drop by 40%

LDPE 98:2 plastic film prices have fallen by 40% since the start of the year, linked to the announcement by China that certain grades of scrap, including plastics, will be banned.

Due to the likely loss of such a huge market, prices have fallen from a year high of £373 per tonne in February to £215 in early December, a 42% reduction. At the lower end of the market prices have already dipped below the £200 per tonne mark. 

The film market had already slowed by June, when 95:5 and 90:10 was reportedly hardly moving, and only the best quality material was being shipped.

Price falls accelerated further in July, when China informed the WTO of its intentions  to ban certain secondary materials, followed by the announcement in August of a 0.3% out throw limit from 2018.

Materials such as 60:40 or lower no longer have a market to be traded into as they have been displaced by the higher end films moving into new alternative destinations.

Craig Curtis, managing director of CS Recycling said: “there is a market [for it] but, as there are dramatically fewer buyers, understandably the value has been decimated.“

“I think the prices now must be at their floor, as any lower would start to make the collection and segregation of the product unviable.”

Mike Jackson, managing director of Prismm Environmental, said there was a ”significant growing market in Eastern Europe, as well as other parts of Asia.”

He added that there is still a market for the material, and that although prices were hard to predict, they believe they will stabilize and then recover slightly. 

David Wilson, managing director of Vanden recycling said: ”Demand is continuing to drop and the expectation is that prices will also drop further” but echoed what others had said about a market still existing for 98:2 but added that lower grades of LDPE film and other scrap plastics were difficult. 

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