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European plastic recycling in serious trouble amid Covid-19 shutdowns

Mixed white, clear and coloured plastic film
06.05.2020 − 

Plastic recycling in Europe is in dire straits. In particularly, the low prices for all types of primary plastics are now weighing heavily on regranulate prices. In addition to the slump in the automotive industry, now ongoing for some time, demand from the construction sector now appears to be slowing significantly, too. Recycled plastic sales were rather poor on the whole; the biggest problems are evident for HDPE, which was virtually impossible to sell, according to merchants and recyclers in Germany.

Recyclers are trying to slash their purchasing prices for waste plastics to stay competitive with primary plastics, which have become cheaper again amidst plunging crude oil prices. Some of them have scaled back production. A few German recyclers have now had to implement short-time working.

Primary plastics prices well below €800 per tonne are making it very hard for recyclers to sell recyclate to converters. Therefore, recyclers are often offering to pay only small amounts for plastic waste and regrind.

The full report on the waste plastics market will appear in the next print and e-paper issue of EUWID Recycling & Waste Management (10/2020) out on 13 May.

Online subscribers can access the report immediately here: Waste Plastics Germany

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