The best features in recycling
Downs and ups
With the market for recovered materials seeming to be back on an even footing following the fall in prices brought on by the recession, WRAP's Liz Dixon Smith looks in a little more detail at recent trends and factors driving prices
UK prices for recovered materials have increased substantially over the past year or so. For some materials, prices are now comparable or even higher than the peaks that they reached in mid-2008, just before the onset of the global financial crisis that caused commodity markets, including those for recovered materials, to fall sharply.
Because recovered materials can often be used as substitutes for virgin materials, prices for recovered materials typically track those for virgin commodities.
These too are at high levels. Virgin commodity prices have risen sharply over the past year or so because of both structural factors (such as the recovery from recession and rapid growth in emerging markets such as China), which have increased demand for a range of commodities, and temporary supply shocks (such as floods or droughts which
have affected agricultural commodities and the unrest in the Middle East on oil). However, prices of some virgin commodities fell sharply at the beginning of May and, reflecting this, prices for some recovered materials also declined. Commodity markets subsequently stabilised and, at present, it seems that this was a limited correction as opposed to the start of a trend decline.
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