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Prices collapse for bales of recovered plastics

Published: July 13, 2022
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July has seen sweeping drops in the value of PET, HDPE and PP, according to the latest pricing survey.Plastics Recycling Markets

The national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars plummeted 30% this month and is now trading at an average of 26.16 cents per pound. That compares to 37.50 cents per pound this time last month. Some regions are still trading as high as 35.00 cents per pound for spot loads, but others are offering as low as 15.00 cents. PET was trading at 23.55 cents one year ago.

The price of natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs is also down by double-digit figures. Natural HDPE is selling for an average of 46.75 cents per pound, a 17% reduction from 56.19 cents last month. The price was 106.34 cents this time last year.

Color HDPE is down even more, having declined by 25%. This grade is now trading at 22.03 cents per pound. It was 29.28 cents this time last month. It averaged 56.78 cents one year ago.

The national average for polypropylene is down 27%, trading at 24.94 cents per pound. It was 34.13 cents last month and 39.22 cents one year ago.

Lastly, film prices have also been more consistent lately. 

The national average for Grade A film is now at 22.56 cents per pound, compared to 22.94 last month and 18.81 cents one year ago.

Grade B film is still 8.19 cents, compared to 7.50 one year ago. 

Grade C film is still averaging 1.13 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 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 330-956-8911.

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MBA Polymers chief sees ‘perfect storm’ of processing opportunities in U.S.

Published: July 19, 2013
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MBA Polymers, a major manufacturer of recycled plastics, has announced it is reorganizing operations and bringing more of its future plastics production to the United States. Ironically, the first step in that shift will be shuttering the company’s lone U.S. facility, the corporate headquarters located in Richmond, California.

“It does seem counter-intuitive that we would be closing Richmond at the same time we are developing a new U.S. strategy, but that is indeed the case,” MBA Polymers president Mike Biddle told Plastics Recycling Update. “Our lease is up in Richmond and it is too small to try to turn into a production facility.”

MBA, which Biddle started in his garage in 1992 and opened the Gladstone site in 1997, has in recent years brought the bulk of production to facilities in Europe and China. The research and development arm of the company, formerly housed in Richmond, is now moving to the company’s 126,000-square-foot U.K. plant (though Biddle is quick to point out that elements of R&D currently take place at all of the company’s locations).

Biddle said the company’s plan for the U.S. is to mirror production realities taking place at its U.K., China and Austria operations. At those facilities, the company harvests plastics from used electronics equipment, automotive shredder residue (ASR) and, most recently, mixed rigid plastics from municipal waste streams.

Recent developments in the U.S. market have made expansion here possible for MBA and others. Biddle points to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent decision to allow plastics mining from auto shredder residue as well as a growing e-scrap sector as key indicators of what the future may hold in the U.S.

“There is almost a ‘perfect storm’ of changes in the opportunities to recycle plastics in the U.S.” the executive said. “I can honestly say that I feel like I’ve been waiting over 20 years for this moment in time.”

Biddle gave no indication about where or when the start of the next phase in MBA Polymers’ U.S. production would occur.

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