Plastics Recycling Update

A new year brings higher PET bale prices

Plastics Recycling MarketsPrices for scrap PET containers increased by about 10% this month, and the decline in natural HDPE values leveled off.

The national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars is now at an average 20.22 cents per pound, compared with 18.28 cents per pound this time last month. Some regions are trading as high as 25.00 cents per pound.  PET was trading at 7.69 cents one year ago.

For other curbside plastics, prices are generally either flat or lower this month. 

The price of natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) has stabilized after falling quickly in recent months. The national average price is at 56.13 cents per pound. This compares to 56.44 cents last month. Natural HDPE hit a record high price of 108.44 cents in September but then fell over the following three months. The price was 67.81 cents this time last year. 

The national average price of color HDPE has dropped. This grade is now trading at 21.50 cents per pound, compared with 26.63 cents last month. This grade averaged 17.25 cents one year ago.

The national average price of polypropylene remains unchanged at 18.94 cents per pound. PP was 13.44 cents one year ago.

The national average price of Grade A film remains unchanged at 20.50 cents. This grade was trading at 11.06 cents one year ago. Grade B film is also unchanged at 7.25 cents, compared with 4.06 one year ago. Grade C film is averaging 0.81 cents per pound, down from the 0.88 cents it had been at for several months. 

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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