An essential aspect of trading plastic scrap determining prices. There is no set value to plastic scrap. There is no blue book value as in selling used vehicles. Plastic scrap prices move up and down like stocks. To be a successful plastic trader, you need to buy low and sell high. To be a successful recycler, you need to sell at the highest possible price. The key to being successful in this industry (probably true for all businesses) is finding the most suitable buyer for your type and quality of recycled plastic.
There are several types of plastic buyers in China which include plastic traders, plastic processors, and product manufacturers. Plastic traders act as middlemen and purchase scrap to sell at a profit.
Plastic processors purchase plastic scrap to separate (by color and or type), clean, grind, flake, and or pelletize to sell for higher profits. Product manufacturers are end users that purchase recycled plastics for product production.
Typically, product manufacturers offer the highest prices. Product manufacturers mix recycled materials with virgin resin to reduce production costs (not every manufacturer do this). Their sense of value for recycled plastic is the highest because the more recycled plastic they use, the more they save.
Plastic processors offer decent prices for plastic scrap because through processing, they are able to raise the value of the purchased scrap. The processor in turn sell the processed plastic to product manufacturers.
Plastic traders offer the lowest prices because they need to make a margin on the plastic scrap purchased.
The key to getting high plastic scrap prices is to qualify your buyers by type. Focus on finding product manufacturers or plastic processors only. Product manufacturers are the ideal choice, however, these are also the most difficult to find. The scope of plastic scrap they want is also the most narrow.
That is, they are typically interested in commodity they can directly use. If you have plastic scrap that needs processing, focus on finding plastic processors. Stay away from plastic traders unless you have scrap that is difficult to sell (niche plastics).
To find buyers for recycled plastics in China, you can check on alibaba.com, or there are several online marketplaces that cater to the scrap industry:
In addition to getting information on suitable buyers, you can get general plastic scrap prices for your type of scrap. These are ballpark prices. Actual prices depend on the type of commodity, the quality, and how you negotiate with your buyer. For better estimates of what your plastic scrap is worth, feel free to send me an email at andrew[@]recycledplastic.com.
*make sure to attach some pictures.