The current national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars is 13.83 cents per pound. Over the past 12 months, the highest point reached was July 31, when this grade was trading 13 percent higher, at 15.93 cents per pound. By comparison, in February 2017 it was 21 percent lower, trading at 11.41 cents per pound. Two years ago, the national average was 61 percent lower than today, at 8.57 cents per pound.
The only significant upward movement in the post-consumer plastics markets is with natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs. Early February trends indicate a 5 percent national average price increase, from 29.97 cents per pound in January to the current 31.56 cents per pound. Meanwhile, color HDPE remains at 14.84 cents per pound, compared to early December 2017, when the national average price was 15.38 cents per pound.
Commingled grades (Nos. 3-7) are still trading under 1 cent per pound, currently at an all-time average low of 0.63 cents per pound.
Post-consumer film prices remain unchanged since early December. The national average price for Grade A film is currently 11.31 cents per pound. This grade was trading 34 percent higher one year ago, when the national average was 17.13 cents per pound. Grade B film remains unchanged at 4.06 cents per pound, while Grade C film is still trading at a low 1.38 cents per pound.
The national average price for baled aluminum cans has risen over 3 percent during the past two months, from 67.89 cents per pound early December to the current 70.06 cents per pound. In December 2016, this grade was trading 15 percent lower than today, at 60.75 cents per pound.
Meanwhile, the national average trading price for baled steel cans is currently in the $195-per-ton range, compared to one year ago, when it traded at an average $144 per ton.
Sorted residential papers (PS 56) remains steady, trading at a national average of $58.44 per ton as of Jan. 31. This still represents a dramatic 44 percent drop since August 2017, when the grade was trading at an average $104.38 per ton.
The old corrugated (PS 11) national average remains unchanged at $105.63 ending January 2018. This grade was trading nationally at $180.00 per ton in July 2017.
Meanwhile, mixed paper (PS 54) remains unchanged at a national average low of $31.88 per ton, compared to its high of $93.94 per ton in March 2017.
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.