Prices for a slew of curbside recyclables – OCC, UBCs, PET, HDPE and PP – all surged over the past month, bringing good news for MRFs.
For fibers, OCC prices increased notably. The national average price for corrugated containers (PS 11) is up 8% this month, now trading at an average $82 per ton. By comparison, the OCC grade was trading for about $45 per ton one year ago.
Sorted residential papers (PS 56) are up 12%, averaging $48.44 per ton, compared with $43.13 last month. Mixed paper (PS 54) remains firm, averaging $32 per ton.
High-grade papers are up an average $5 to $10 per ton again this month, with sorted office papers (PS 37) now trading for about $100 per ton.
Metal grades commonly found at MRFs increased in price, as well. The average for sorted, baled aluminum cans is up 15%, now at 61.06 cents per pound, compared with 53.31 cents last month. One year ago, UBCs were trading 28% lower, at an average 47.81 cents per pound.
Meanwhile, steel cans surged over the past month. They are now trading at an average $230 per ton, up from last month’s $80 per ton. The current price surpasses 2018 numbers, which were around $200 per ton.
Significant price increases were also seen in plastics. The price of PET beverage bottles and jars keeps moving up and is currently at 10.14 cents per pound. That compares with 8.63 cents per pound this time last month. One year ago, the national average was 10.47 cents per pound.
The price of PET thermoforms in California has also continued to increase this year. The regional average is currently 9.63 cents per pound, up from 9.13 cents per pound in February and 7.25 cents in January.
The national average price of natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) continues to reach new highs. The plastic is now averaging 77.25 cents per pound nationally. This compares with 70.25 cents last month. Many regions are reporting prices currently reaching 82.00 cents per pound. The price was 37.13 cents one year ago.
Color HDPE is also up again, now trading at 23.63 cents per pound, up from 18.91 cents last month. This compares to 7.38 cents one year ago.
Polypropylene’s price also continues to rise. It is now at 28.34 cents per pound, compared with 18.44 cents last month and an average low of 5.69 cents per pound one year ago.
The national average price of Grade A film is up 23%, now at 13.69 cents per pound, compared with 11.13 cents per pound last month. Grade B film is now 5.13 cents, up from 4.38 cents per pound last month, while Grade C film remains at a low of 0.88 cents.
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.