Plastics Recycling Markets

Curbside plastic bales values are continuing their upward trend, with prices for PET, natural HDPE, color HDPE and PP all increasing over the past month. 

Pricing for some grades jumped over 40% from February to March, according to the latest data from 

The national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars is currently 13.94 cents per pound, compared with 13.16 cents per pound in mid-February. Some regions are now trading as high as 17.00 cents per pound. 

This key curbside plastic has been rising since September 2022, when it was 7.53 cents per pound. Three months ago, PET was trading at a national average of 10.75 cents. 

However, current pricing for PET is still far below where it was a year ago when it was trading at 23.42 cents per pound.

Meanwhile, the national average for natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is up roughly 10% month over month, now at an average of 68.22 cents per pound. This compares with 62.03 cents last month and 54.56 cents this time last year. 

Similarly to PET, natural HDPE has been rising since September, when it was at national average of 39.50 cents a pound. 

The national average price of color HDPE is up 45% this month, reaching an average of 13.44 cents per pound. That compares with 9.27 cents last month and 19.50 cents one year ago. As is the case with PET and natural HDPE, color HDPE has been rising since September, when it was 6.16 cents per pound. 

Polypropylene (PP) is also up dramatically, now trading at 8.13 cents per pound, compared with 5.38 cents last month. That’s a rise of 51%. 

Prior to this most recent monthly rise, PP had been flat since last fall, with this month bringing its first increase in about a year. One year ago, in March 2022, PP was trading for 29.44 cents per pound. 

Even the high- and mid-grade films, which don’t tend to see dramatic price swings, are rising. 

The national average price of Grade A film is now 16.94 cents per pound, compared with 15.63 cents last month. It was 20.50 cents one year ago. 

Grade B film is now 7.94 cents, compared with 6.94 cents last month. 

Lastly for plastics, Grade C film remains at a low 0.5 cents per pound.

A version of this story appeared in Resource Recycling on March 14. 

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 [email protected] or call 330-956-8911.


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