Conditions have been demanding for recyclers over recent months owing to high electricity charges and to lower consumption by consumers making the future feedstock situation a little more unstable. Incineration/energy plants are also competing for feedstock because of these high electricity prices.
In general, plastics recyclers were suffering from higher costs and falling recycled prices in late 2022. However, recycled prices were more stable at the very end of last year and at the beginning of 2023 when compared to the significant falls of October and November 2022. Some plastics recyclers reduced capacity by the end of 2022 owing to the very good supply of cheap virgin grades, thus putting recyclables under pressure. However, crude oil prices have been more stable in early 2023 and so the indications are that virgin grade prices will stabilize.
Also at the end of 2022, there were healthy stocks of both virgin and recycled material, and plastic producers could buy in cheaper pellets. This has had an impact on recyclables at the start of 2023 but it can already be seen that some virgin producers are talking of slight price increases. For virgin grades, plastic prices depend to an extent on crude oil whereas recyclates depend on the availability of collected material and on treatment and sorting costs.
The Scandinavian market is still suffering the effects of lower demand owing to the situation that developed at the end of last year, but recyclables are still moving at quite good prices compared to a year ago. Scandinavia’s recyclers are still being supplied with input for processing but demand is lower. And as they also sell material to the rest of Europe and to Asia, this is making the market situation more stable.