WRAP Materials Pricing Update

25th February 2009

Recovered prices from WRAP’s Materials Pricing Assessment.

Key points:

  • UK markets continue to show on-going stability with most recovered materials’ prices holding steady – a situation that is also broadly reflected across Europe. Quality is still a key issue with good quality materials more readily finding markets and higher prices.
  •  Significant price rises for mixed HDPE of around £90 per tonne reflect increased demand, particularly for export, but domestic demand is holding up well too.
  • Prices have continued to rise for paper (up £5 per tonne), steel (up £10 per tonne) and plastic (up £88 per tonne), pointing to sustained activity and value in the recycling of these materials.
  • The long term market outlook would suggest that prices are beginning to stabilise. However there are still concerns about volatility in certain markets, including cardboard. Evidence from traders we contacted for our materials pricing survey suggests that, due to the fragility of the Chinese market, prices for plastics and cardboard could come under pressure.


WRAP’s Materials Pricing is compiled from data collected independently from key industry sources.

* pams = pamphlets and magazines

* natural HDPE – is a food grade polymer, commonly used for milk bottles

* mixed HDPE – can be used for a variety of food grade applications

  • Modest price increase of £5 per tonne for paper (news & pams) is being driven by strong demand from UK paper mills and for export, especially to Europe. There is also healthy demand from India for mixed paper, which is helping to stabilise prices at around £25 per tonne. 
  • WRAP helps individuals, businesses and local authorities to reduce waste and recycle more, making better use of resources and helping to tackle climate change.
  • Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Working in seven key areas (Construction, Retail, Manufacturing, Organics, Business Growth, Behavioural Change, and Local Authority Support), WRAP’s work focuses on market development and support to drive forward recycling and materials resource efficiency within these sectors, as well as wider communications and awareness activities including the multi-media national Recycle Now campaign for England.
  • More information on all of WRAP's programmes can be found on www.wrap.org.uk