Last year was an exceptionally difficult year for Germany’s plastic recyclers, and many market players expect the new year to prove very challenging, too. The industry has its back against the wall amid weak sales and revenues. Demand for regranulate and regrind was unusually robust up until summer 2022 but plummeted thereafter. Recycled plastic and waste plastic prices have since fallen by more than half, while energy, personnel, and transportation costs have soared. Recyclers find themselves embroiled in a brutal price war with sellers of cheap virgin plastics.
For plastic producers, too, the outlook is anything but rosy. The association Plastics Europe Deutschland recently estimated that primary plastic production would fall by an estimated 15 per cent in 2023 compared with 2022, given the slow recovery in the global economy. The problem might also be exacerbated by Germany’s budget crisis and the German Constitutional Court’s strict interpretation of the "debt brake" rule, which limits the federal government’s structural budget deficit to 0.35 per cent of GDP.
Contributing to the uncertainty were the attacks staged by Houthi rebels on container ships in the Red Sea, causing shipping lines to significantly raise freight rates and re-route their vessels around South Africa. These shipping disruptions already had an impact on the recycling market in December.
Read the full monthly report on the market for waste plastics in Germany and acess the price table and graphing tools here: