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Export troubles and livelier demand for waste plastics in Germany

04.02.2021 − 

Ambiguity surrounding the implementation of new rules governing waste plastic exports has created a great deal of confusion on Germany's waste plastics market. Traders initially stopped buying commercial PE film for export to the Far East at the start of the year. Some companies had also reacted at first by cutting prices significantly.

At the same time, competitors from Belgium and the Netherlands were still offering high purchasing prices for recycled raw material in Germany. These firms were continuing to export this material to the Far East without prior notification and consent. The market was effectively split in two as a result, German merchants said, complaining about unfair treatment.

There have even been reports of German authorities stopping single-polymer regrind shipments

Sources told EUWID that German authorities had even halted some exports of single-polymer regrind. Exporting sorted material from German packaging compliance schemes was also a challenge. Due to the specifications set by the packaging waste recovery systems, these fractions often contain a much higher rate of impurities than the 2 per cent limit allowed by federal state authorities on green-listed exports. Above all, insiders criticised the fact that rules had been imposed in a hurry and were being implemented inconsistently. The industry is thus pinning its hopes on a swift and practical, uniform solution at the EU level.

The scarcity and sharply increasing cost of primary plastics were prompting some substantial hikes in prices on the plastics recycling market, especially for HDPE and PP. Recyclers sometimes quoted mark-ups of more than €100 per tonne for recyclate. Last year's sharp falls in prices for natural grades had also been recouped to a certain degree, recyclers noted.

You can read the full market report including prices in the print and e-paper editions of EUWID Recycling & Waste Management 03/2021, out 10 February. Premium subscribers can access the market report right away:

Waste plastics in Germany

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