Resource Recycling News

MRFs enjoy higher prices for key recovered plastics

Market graph iconPrices for curbside natural high-density polyethylene have climbed even higher over the past month. Paper prices remain painfully low.

The price of natural HDPE from curbside collection programs is up again this month. The national average price has now reached 58.25 cents per pound, compared with 51.75 cents this time last month. In some areas, the plastic type is trading as high as 62.00 cents per pound, a 10-year high. 

One year ago, the national average for this grade was 38.69 cents per pound. The last similar high was five years ago, in September 2014, when it reached a national average of 52.69 cents per pound.

The national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars moved up 9 percent, from 9.45 cents per pound this time last month to the current average trading price of 10.29 cents per pound. This time last year, PET was trading much higher, at an average 15.05 cents per pound.

The national average price of color HDPE is also up marginally, now trading at 14.75 cents per pound, compared to 14.56 cents per pound last month. One year ago, this grade was trading at 16.72 cents per pound.

The national average price of polypropylene remains unchanged, at 7.06 cents per pound.  One year ago, this grade was trading at 11.19 cents per pound.

On the fiber side, the national average for corrugated containers (PS 11) remains at about $25 per ton. OCC was trading at about $70 one year ago. 

Sorted residential papers (PS 56) remain unchanged, trading at about $10 per ton.

Mixed paper (PS 54) continues to trade at a national average low of negative $2 per ton.

The national average price for sorted, baled aluminum cans is unchanged this month, still at 51.06 cents per pound. This compares to 66.00 cents per pound this time last year.

Sorted, baled steel cans moved up 10 percent, now at a national average $99 per ton, compared with an average of $90 per ton last month. Steel cans were selling for $190 per ton one year ago.

Finally, the national average price of Grade A film remains relatively unchanged over the last month, trading at 8.69 cents per pound. By comparison, this grade traded at 8.75 cents per pound one year ago. Grades B and C film 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 or 330-956-8911.

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