Markets for many curbside recyclables have been relatively steady lately, with paper and plastic grades maintaining their values into early December.

Sorted residential papers (PS 56) continue unchanged, at $31 per ton, compared with $56 per ton in December 2017. Mixed paper (PS 54) is still trading at a nominal average low of $3-$5 per ton, down from $32 per ton one year ago.

The national average for corrugated containers (PS 11) dropped $3-$4 over the past month, now trading in the $68-per-ton range. This low average compares with $105 per ton in December 2017.

Meanwhile, high-grade papers remain strong. Sorted office paper (PS-37) is trading nationally around $196 per ton, compared with $153 per ton one year ago. Sorted white ledger (PS-40) is now trading at $290 per ton, compared with $225 per ton last December.

The national average price for baled aluminum cans is now in the 66-cents-per-pound range. This seasonal change represents a significant drop from the high of 76.81 cents per pound in June 2018.

The national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars is 15.05 cents per pound. This compares to last month, when prices were in the 15.00-cents-per-pound range.  One year ago, PET was trading at 13.55 cents per pound. By comparison, the national average peaked at 17.11 cents per pound in June 2018.

The price of post-consumer natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs remained constant this month. The national average price is now 38.69 cents per pound, compared to 38.88 cents this time last month. With the exception of the West Coast and Pacific regions, where the average is in the 33- to 34-cents-per-pound range, the national average in all other regions continues in the 41- to 42-cents-per-pound range. This represents a significant increase over the past year: The national average for this grade was 30.13 cents per pound in mid-December 2017.

Meanwhile, the national average price of color HDPE is up another 5 percent over the past month, from 15.88 cents per pound early November to the current 16.72 cents per pound. One year ago, this grade traded at 16.63 cents per pound.

National average pricing for post-consumer film grades remains unchanged. Grade A film is still trading at 8.75 cents per pound, compared to 11.88 cents per pound one year ago. Grade B film is still trading at 2.63 cents and Grade C film at 1.44 cents per pound.

The national average for HDPE rigid materials remains steady at 9.31 cents per pound, compared to 8.84 cents per pound one year ago.

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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