Prices for curbside recyclables are either up or flat this month, with some key materials seeing surging values. For example, OCC rose 14% during the past month.
The national average price for corrugated containers (PS 11) moved up 14% this month to $75 per ton, compared with $66 per ton last month. The OCC grade was trading for about $25 per ton one year ago.
The price of natural HDPE from curbside collection programs now averages 66.84 cents per pound nationally, another record-high price. This compares with last month’s 63.75 cents, which was also a record, and 59.47 cents one year ago. Some regions are reporting prices currently reaching 72.00 cents per pound.
Prices for PET, an important curbside plastic, also moved higher. The national average price of PET beverage bottles and jars moved up 16% this month and is currently at 7.58 cents per pound, compared with 6.55 cents per pound this time last month. One year ago, the price was 9.28 cents per pound.
Meanwhile, sorted residential papers (PS 56) remain unchanged this month. They are still averaging $44 per ton, compared with $10 per ton one year ago.
Mixed paper (PS 54) inched up to an average price of $33 per ton. This grade was at a negative $2 per ton cost last year.
And high-grade papers are up by an average of $5 to $10 per ton this month, with sorted office papers (PS 37) trading in the range of $85-$90 per ton.
For metals, the national average price for sorted, baled aluminum cans is up 5% this month. This grade is now at 51.88 cents per pound, compared with 49.19 cents last month. This moves the price marginally above the 51.19 cents traded one year ago.
Steel cans remain constant at $80 per ton this month. They averaged $103 per ton one year ago.
Higher prices have been seen for other types of plastics, as well. The national average price of polypropylene surged upward this month and is now at 11.69 cents per pound, compared to 7.00 cents last month and 5.81 cents one year ago.
Following natural HDPE, the national average price of color HDPE is also up again. It is now trading at 17.19 cents per pound, up from 17.06 cents last month. This compares to a low of 3.58 cents six months ago, in July 2020.
The national average price of Grade A film is up 15%, now at 10.84 cents, compared with 9.44 cents per pound last month and 8.44 cents per pound this time last year. Grade B film is now 3.63 cents per pound, while Grade C film remains a low 0.81 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.