Resource Recycling News

Mixed news in baled recyclables markets

OCC prices have taken a steep drop, but values for some key plastics continue to climb.

The national average of most curbside paper grades remains low. Corrugated containers (PS 11) has dropped 23 percent to the current $67 per ton, down from an average price in the $87-per-ton range one month ago. In July 2017, OCC was trading in the $180-per-ton range.

The national average of mixed paper (PS 54) continues at an average low of $2 per ton, even trading negatively in some regions.

Sorted residential paper (PS 56) has rebounded to March 2018 levels, now trading nationally at an average $29 per ton. High-grade papers remain strong, with sorted white ledger (PS 40) trading at $257 per ton. Sorted office paper (PS 37) is up 6 percent over the past month, from $184 nationally to the current $195 per ton.

The national average of aluminum cans is now 76.81 cents per pound, 19 percent higher than one year ago, when this material traded at 64.69 cents per pound.

The national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars continues to move up. The price is currently at 17.00 cents per pound, a 9 percent increase over the past month, when it traded at 15.59 cents per pound. This also represents a 23 percent increase since January 2018, when it traded nationally at 13.78 cents per pound.

Post-consumer natural HDPE from curbside collection programs also continues its upward trend. The current national average price is 37.69 cents per pound, up 26 percent since early January 2018, when the material traded at 29.97 cents per pound. In June 2017, this grade traded at 26.41 cents per pound. The current price is a return to June 2016 levels, when it traded nationally at 37.50 cents per pound.

By contrast, the national average price of color HDPE continues to drop. It is now 14.25 cents per pound, down 22 percent from late April, when it reached a high of 18.19 cents per pound. This also represents a return to July 2017 levels, when this grade traded at 14.38 cents per pound.

The national average price of commingled plastics (Nos. 1-7) continues at 2.38 cents per pound. One year ago, this grade traded at 2.44 cents per pound. Commingled (Nos. 3-7) is trading at 0.25 cents per pound, compared to one year ago, when it yielded 1.03 cents per pound.

Post-consumer Grade A film continues to trade at a national average price of 11.72 cents per pound. Grade B film is still trading at 3.74 cents per pound, while Grade C film remains at 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.

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 or 330-956-8911.


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