Post-Consumer Plastics Pricing Improves while Aluminum Can Pricing Slides

Post-Consumer Plastics Pricing Improves while Aluminum Can Pricing Slides

A review of commodities pricing trends reveals that post-consumer PET beverage containers and natural high-density polyethylene pricing is on the rise while the national average price of densified aluminum cans has dropped.

Post-Consumer PET Prices on the Rise

One year ago, the national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars was reported in the 19 cents per pound range (see graph).

By January, the national average price had dropped to 14.9 cents per pound. Three months later, in April 2015 the price reached a low of 13.5 cents per pound.

Effective July 24, the national average price had moved upward 7 percent, to the current 14.5 cents per pound (see graph).

This level remains in stark contrast to the 31.4 cents per pound average reported more than 2 years ago, in April 2013.

These prices are as reported on the Secondary Materials Pricing (SMP) Index. This pricing represents what is being paid for post-consumer recyclable plastic materials in a sorted, baled format, picked up at most major recycling centers.

Post-Consumer Natural HDPE Prices Rise 35% in 2015

During the last 6 months, the national average price of post-consumer natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs has already risen 35 percent.

The national average price reported in January 2015 was 25 cents per pound. The trading price then reached a low of 24.3 cents per pound in February, representing a drastic drop from the highs of 56 cents per pound one year ago.

Effective July 24, the national average price had reached 34 cents per pound (see graph).

These prices are as reported on the Secondary Materials Pricing (SMP) Index. This pricing represents what is being paid for post-consumer recyclable plastic materials in a sorted, baled format, picked up at most major recycling centers.

Aluminum Cans Drop 39% During Past 12 Months

During the past year, the national average price of densified aluminum cans has dropped more than 39 percent, from 77.6 cents per pound in July 2014, to the current 55.8 cents per pound as reported on July 24 (see graph).

This represents a significant downward price trend, as prices usually trade in the 70 to 80 cents per pound range. Historically between May 2013 and late 2014, the national average price ranged between 73 and 78 cents per pound.

These published prices are for post-consumer mill-size bales, FOB (freight on board) dealers’ plants, as reported on the Secondary Materials Pricing (SMP) Index.

Robert Boulanger is currently president of Recycling Markets Limited, and director of the Commodity Pricing division. He has extensive experience in the operation and management of recycling plants, and is a long time publisher in the recycling sector.

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