Post-Consumer Plastics Pricing Sliding on All Levels

Post-Consumer Plastics Pricing Sliding on All Levels

Pricing on post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate, post-consumer natural high-density polyethylene and post-consumer colored HDPE has continued to slide in recent months. Here are the latest movements on all three commodoties.

Post-Consumer PET Prices Dropping

One year ago, the national average price of post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) beverage bottles and jars was reported at a high of 19.1 cents per pound.

By January, the national average price had dropped to 13.5 cents per pound.

During the past six months, the market experienced an upward trend, settling in at 14.5 cents per pound by June. Since that date however, the price has dropped steadily to the current national average price reported at a low of 12.9 cents per pound (see graph).

Historically, the lowest national average price reported for this grade during the past 10 years was 4.13 cents per pound, in April 2008. By contrast, the highest price reported was 36.5 cents per pound in April 2011.

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 on Roller Coaster Ride

During the last six months, the national average price of post-consumer natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs experienced a rise of 15 percent, and also a recent drop of 43.5 percent (see graph).

The national average price reported in April was 29.8 cents per pound. The trading price then reached a high of 34.3 cents per pound in July. Since July, the price has dropped drastically to the current 23.9 cents per pound.

By stark contrast, one year ago the national average price for this grade was 52.7 cents per pound.

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 Colored HDPE Prices on a Steady Downfall

Since April 2015, the national average price of post-consumer colored HDPE has dropped 89 percent, from 27.6 cents per pound in April, to the current 14.6 cents per pound as reported on September 4 (see graph).

One year ago, the national average price was reported at 29.5 cents per pound, double the current level.

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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