As we enter 2018, the market for most grades of curbside recyclables remains unchanged, although aluminum prices have seen a recent uptick.

Sorted residential papers (PS 56) have seen steady pricing since early December, still trading at a national average of $55.63 per ton. However, this represents a dramatic 40 percent drop from January 2017, when the category was trading at an average of $92.25 per ton.

The current national average of old corrugated containers (PS 11) also remains unchanged over the past month, trading at $105.63 per ton. This also represents a dramatic drop, 41 percent, over the past six months: OCC was trading nationally at $180.00 per ton in July 2017. Comparatively, the OCC national average was $114.06 per ton on Jan. 6, 2017.

Post-consumer mixed paper (PS 54) is still trading at a low national average of $31.88 per ton.  This grade was trading significantly higher one year ago, at an average of $84.06 per ton on Jan. 6, 2017.

The current national average for baled aluminum cans rose 3.3 percent over the past month, from 67.69 cents per pound early December to the current 69.94 cents per pound. In many regions, trading is reaching the 72-cents-per-pound level. One year ago, this grade was trading 14 percent lower, at 61.13 cents per pound.

Moving to plastics, the current national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars is 13.77 cents per pound, virtually unchanged since Dec. 6, when it was trading at 13.59 cents per pound. Six months ago, this grade was trading 13 percent higher, at 15.74 cents per pound.  Comparatively, PET was trading 25 percent lower one year ago, at 11.03 cents per pound.

The current national average for post-consumer natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs remains virtually unchanged over the past month. It went from 30.13 cents per pound to the current price of 29.97 cents per pound. Color HDPE, meanwhile, dropped slightly from 15.81 cents per pound last month to 15.03 cents per pound in early January 2018.

Finally, post-consumer polypropylene has taken a sudden 24 percent jump, moving from 6.75 to 8.38 cents per pound over the last month. Post-consumer film, commingled and rigid grades remain unchanged.

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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