Plastics recycling industry working to find its footing again

08.02.2018 − 

Waste plastics prices appear to have bottomed out for the time being on the German market in January. Commercial and industrial waste film is no longer being shipped to China. Only few Chinese companies have received import licences for PET, polystyrene, PE and other types of plastic waste so far. However, the tonnages allocated to date are only a fraction of the import volumes permitted in previous years.

Following the initial shock at China’s new waste import policy, the plastics recycling industry is working to find its footing again. Companies are reviewing cost structures in raw materials trading, which in some cases means they are laying off staff.

While there are exports of waste plastics to Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and India, the shipments are far from the quantities which had been absorbed by China and Hong Kong. Within Europe, it is Turkey in particular which appears to be becoming an interesting sales market for secondary plastics.

In China, interest has increased for some grades from Europe, for instance for dark PE film regranulate, report German recyclers who are now concluding sales there at attractive prices. However, there were also reports of very good-quality regranulate from China being offered on the European market. The overall situation is still considered very unclear.

Several raw materials merchants reported that their trading volumes have dropped to less than 50 per cent of their previous levels. Some lower-quality wastes such as construction film, for instance, are not being accepted for recycling at all anymore and are sent for energy recovery instead. However, merchants’ storage capacities are full, as are those of the waste management companies who are still speculating on a price recovery. German recyclers continue to report that they receive many offers, but the industry is focused on clean grades.

The full report on the waste plastics market in Germany including the price table appears in issue 3/2018 of EUWID Recycling and Waste Management on 7 February 2018. Online subscribers can already already access it here:

Waste plastics Germany


EUWID Recycling and Waste Management is published fortnightly. The print edition is mailed every other Wednesday, while E-Paper subscribers have immediate access to the digital version of the most recent edition on the day of publication. Subscriptions for faster access to our market reports are also available.

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