Prices for recovered OCC and sorted fiber have both seen decreases over the past month, but PET plastic has held steady and HDPE has gained around 10 percent.
Old corrugated containers (PS 11) national average prices have dropped 12 percent, from a high of $174.06 per ton in early August to the current $155.31 per ton. This represents a return to March 2017 levels.
At this time last year, OCC price levels were 47 percent lower, when the material was trading at a national average of $105.31. In March 2015, this grade was 91 percent lower than today, at $81.25 per ton.
Elsewhere in the recovered fiber category, the current national average of sorted residential papers (PS 56, formerly PS 8 News) has dropped 16 percent, from a high of $90.31 per ton in August 2017 to the current level of $78.13 per ton. This represents a return to June 2017 levels. In March 2016 this grade was trading 32 percent higher, at a national average of $103.13 per ton.
On the plastics front, the current national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars has held steady during the past month, currently trading at 15.71 cents per pound. A year ago, this common curbside grade was trading 48 percent lower, at 10.65 cents per pound.
The HDPE grades experienced healthy bumps since mid-August. The post-consumer natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) national average from curbside collection programs is now at 30.16 cents per pound, up 10 percent from this time last month. This is nearing the levels of March 2016, when this grade was trading at 32.56 cents per pound.
Meanwhile, the color HDPE grade has risen 11 percent in the past four weeks, now trading at 15.25 cents per pound.
However, the price of post-consumer film grades continues to drop. The national average for Grade A film is now 12.38 cents per pound, down 37 percent from its 17.00 cents per pound level in July 2017. Over the past six months, Grade B Film has dropped 71 percent, from 8.88 cents per pound in March 2017 to its current level of 5.19 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.