Mixed-paper has hit an all-time price low, with each ton trading for just $5. Downward pricing has also been seen with other fibers, but plastics have shown increasingly strong values lately.
Sorted residential papers (PS 56) are now trading at a national average of $32.50 per ton as of early March. This represents a dramatic 69 percent drop since August 2017, when it was trading at an average $104.38 per ton. The national average of mixed paper (PS 54) is now at an all-time low of $5.00 per ton, down from $75.00 per ton in August 2017.
Corrugated containers (PS 11) pricing is also down dramatically over the past eights months, from a high of $180 per ton in July 2017 to the current national average of $87.81 per ton.
All three fiber grades were down from last month’s pricing.
Meanwhile, the current national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars is 14.33 cents per pound. This is up 3 percent from last month, when the material traded at 13.89 cents per pound nationally. One year ago, the national average was 13.56 cents per pound.
Over the past decade, PET has experienced a large price swing. Some interesting price points include the following: 21.80 cents per pound in April 2014, 36.50 cents per pound in April 2011; and 4.13 cents per pound in November 2008, when the national average bottomed out.
Meanwhile, post-consumer natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs is experiencing a continued upward trend this month. The national average price moved up 6 percent between Jan. 5 to Feb. 6, from 29.97 cents per pound to 31.81 cents per pound. In early March, the price moved up another 11 percent, to its current national average of 35.19 cents per pound. This represents a two-month overall increase of 17 percent.
Color HDPE has increased 13 percent over the past five weeks, currently trading at 16.78 cents per pound nationally, compared to 14.84 cents per pound on Jan. 31.
The HDPE rigid grade is still trading nationally in the 8.81-cents-per-pound range, compared to 8.88 cents per pound in January of this year. This grade traded 19 percent higher one year ago, in March 2017, at a high of 10.94 cents per pound. By comparison, the grade was also trading 31 percent lower in January 2017, when the national average was at a low of 6.75 cents per pound.
Post-consumer film prices remain unchanged over the past three months. The national average price for Grade A film is currently 11.31 cents per pound. This grade was trading at a national average of 17.13 cents per pound one year ago. Grade B film remains unchanged at 4.06 cents per pound, while Grade C film is still trading at a low of 1.38 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.