Post-Consumer Recyclable Materials Pricing Remains Unsteady

Post-Consumer Recyclable Materials Pricing Remains Unsteady

The latest movements in the national average prices of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars; colored HDPE and old corrugated cardboard reinforce existing trends. Recycled materials commodities prices, at best, have remained flat. In most cases, declines have continued.

Post-Consumer Average PET Prices at a Standstill

During the past three months, the national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars dropped steadily by 33 per cent, from 9.7 cents per pound in November 2015, to the current 8.6 cents per pound. The current price has been at a virtual standstill since late December 2015 (see graph).

The average price in California for BuyBack Grade A PET dropped by 1 cent in February, while Curbside Grade B remained steady, with the bulk of this lower grade material continuing to be exported.

Most PET end users are predicting that the present market price range for this grade will continue through the rest of 2016.

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 HDPE Prices Continue Unchanged

Over the past two months, the national average price of post-consumer colored high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs remains in a holding pattern, after a sudden 49 percent price drop, from 23.4 cents per pound in December 2015, to 15.7 cents per pound in January 2016, and currently at 15.3 cents per pound (see graph).

By comparison, the national average price of post-consumer natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) has only experienced a 9 percent drop since December 2015, from 27.8 cents per pound to 25.4 cents per pound in January 2016, and currently at 25.5 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 Old Corrugated  Price Down

During the past 6 months, the national average price of most post-consumer paper grades have varied between 5 and 10 percent, unlike many of the post-consumer plastic grades.

During that period, PS-11 Corrugated paper has dropped an average 8 per cent, from $91 per ton in August 2015, to the current national average of $84 per ton (see graph).

Another major grade, PS-8 De-inked News dropped 12 per cent, from $66 per ton in August 2015, to the current price of $58 per ton.

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

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