Commodity Prices

Long before recycling became common place for all manner of waste items, there was one classification of material that was known for its second life potential. That material was paper.

For decades, paper, card and other variations of fibrous waste material have been viewed as perfect for recycling. Not only is it relatively easy to sort and process, for many years it also had a strong secondary market. Waste paper and card was in demand, and as such, prices were at a peak. Its value was dependent on its grade, with clean dry bales fetching significantly higher prices than lower quality alternatives. Unfortunately, however, those days are fast becoming a distant memory.

Due in part to an overhanging consequence of the America / China trade war, America has had to re-direct its paper waste away from China. It now has little alternative than to send it to other markets such as those in Europe, which has caused a significant oversupply. On top of this, China is only taking the very best quality paper and card from other nations, meaning that bales that would have previously been welcomed by China are now joining the competition for buyers in other markets. Naturally, this oversupply has had a negative impact on value and price. It has even caused some of the lowest grades of paper and card to drop out of the market completely.

In light of these developments, maintaining paper and card recyclate at its best possible quality is more important than ever. The cleaner and dryer the paper and card, the more likely it is that there will be a market for it. With this in mind, it is vital to keep waste streams separated and uncontaminated.

Here at Cawleys, we are focusing our efforts away from mixed dry recycling and concentrating heavily on initiatives such as our Infinity Scheme which enforces complete segregation of varying waste streams. This goes one step further in keeping waste items such as card and paper clean and dry and at its highest possible quality so that we, and our clients, have the best possible chance of selling this valuable commodity at the best price in a restricted market.

In contrast to paper and card, prices for other recyclate streams such as plastic and glass remain strong and are holding their ground. In time we expect the prices for paper and card to bounce back but for now we urge all our clients to segregate where possible and keep quality top of mind.

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