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ICIS Launches Much-needed Mixed Plastic Waste Pricing Service

The circular economy is often confused and misperceived as more recycling; it is only one of several circular actions and is often referred to as “the last resort”. True circularity aims to “design out waste”. Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

LONDON, 24 November 2021 – With the demand for recycled plastic outstripping supply, ICIS, a global source of Independent Commodity Intelligence Services, has released a new weekly pricing service for Europe, offering benchmarkable price quotes for mixed polyolefin bales, PVC-screened reject bales suitable for RDF, and MRF reject bales.

The shortage in supply of monomaterial plastic waste to feed the mechanical recycling market has led to a spike in prices, with the cost of PET, PE and PP at least doubling in the last year and HDPE quadrupling. This has increased the relevance of mixed waste bales, which were previously economically unviable because of sorting costs and yield losses.

Additionally, mixed polyolefin waste bales are the main feedstock, and the largest variable cost for chemical recycling producers in Europe. To keep chemical recycling a complementary activity to mechanical processes, these producers are looking to other waste grades, specifically PVC-screened reject bales. Demand is also growing for unsorted reject bales from chemical recyclers and petrochemical firms with installed PVC sorting on site.

Louise Boddy, Head of Commercial Strategy, Sustainability at ICIS, said, “These mixed waste markets are becoming increasingly important to a circular plastics economy. The new pricing service will enable players throughout the chain to make better informed purchasing decisions and support further investment in the waste and chemical recycling sectors by providing much needed price transparency to those markets.”

Market data on recycled plastics is currently fragmented and opaque. However, pricing data for this evolving industry is critical for all stakeholders, from chemical recyclers to FMCGs with public sustainability deadlines and chemical producers.

The mixed Plastic Waste – Europe pricing service will enable customers to understand when and how much to pay for mixed plastic waste bales. It will support chemical producers looking to invest in chemical recycling, with understanding of how pricing and the market is developing and how this might impact their sourcing strategy and overall costs.

Boddy concluded, “Having independent and regular prices for this industry will help customers make the best and most timely buying and selling decisions and enable FMCGs to understand how the feedstock costs are impacting the cost of their end-products. Mixed plastic waste pricing will provide vital transparency to this developing market.”

Alongside benchmark pricing for mixed plastic bales the new European mixed plastic waste pricing service will enable ICIS to track chemical recycling developments, which will complement data from the ICIS chemical Recycling Supply Tracker, as well as the mechanical Recycling Supply Tracker launched in February 2021. Combined with existing pricing services for R-PE, R-PP and R-PET, the new mixed plastic waste pricing service gives ICIS unrivalled coverage across the recycled plastic chain, which provides a unique and much-needed perspective on the market, supporting both pricing and sourcing of supply.


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