According to a report in waste360, COVID-19 has driven extraordinary circumstances rarely or never seen, impacting the supply chain, resulting in a state of constant flux in the paper industry.
Demand for recovered paper is red hot to cold, depending on end markets. China, which drastically cut imports a couple years ago, has now stepped up purchases, and its paper mills are asking U.S. and other overseas suppliers for more material. Meanwhile, some recyclers who were selling tissue and toweling to away-from-home customers that have shut down are hustling to shift to stay-at-home markets, where products are flying off the shelves.
Corrugated in particular is seeing a boon. Some mills can’t get enough of this material, and as they fight for market share, they are paying higher premiums or paying premiums for the first time.
“Corrugated was staggering at $35 per ton in the Midwest for months and went up in March mainly because the export market got strong in Asia. I expect prices will continue to rise in April due to diminishing supply and increasing domestic demand,” says Leonard Zeid, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Brokerage for Midland Davis Corporation, a scrap paper, metal and plastic brokerage with a processing plant in Moline, Illinois.