Plastics Recycling Update

Curbside plastic prices increase sharply

Plastics Recycling MarketsPrices for curbside plastic bales shot up over the past month, with PET bottles jumping by nearly one-third and natural HDPE notching another record.

The national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars in May moved up 31% over last month. Curbside PET is now trading at an average of 15.69 cents per pound. That compares with 11.95 cents per pound this time last month. In some regions, curbside PET is trading as high as 19.00 cents per pound. California premium bales are trading in the range of 30.00 cents to 31.00 cents a pound. 

Natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs continues to reach new highs and is now at an average of 89.31 cents per pound. This compares with 81.88 cents last month. Several regions are reporting prices currently around 95.00 cents per pound. The price was 36.00 cents one year ago, and since then, the price has either been flat or up each month.

Color HDPE is also up sharply again. It is now trading at 38.44 cents per pound, up from 30.13 cents last month, an increase of 28%. This compares with 3.56 cents this time last year.

Polypropylene has also increased in price. The plastic is now 33.31 cents per pound, compared with 29.69 cents last month and an average of 3 cents per pound one year ago.

Markets have also boosted a couple of film grades recently. The national average price of Grade A film is up 13%, now at 17.63 cents, compared with 15.63 cents per pound last month and 7.56 one year ago. Grade B film is now 6.56 cents, up from 5.63 cents per pound last month. Grade C film remains a low 0.88 cents.

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

For a free trial to SMP’s Online Post-Consumer Pricing Index, visit the Recycling Markets website. You can also contact Christina Boulanger-Bosley at or 330-956-8911.


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