Market graph iconMRFs are enjoying higher prices for scrap paper, plastic and metal bales this month, with notable increases for OCC, PET and HDPE.

The national average price for corrugated containers (PS 11) is up another 10% this month, now trading at an average of $90 per ton. That’s up from an average of $82 last month. By comparison, the OCC grade was trading for about $73 per ton one year ago.

Prices have also increased for some key curbside plastics. The national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars moved up 18% over the last month and is now trading at 11.95 cents per pound, compared with 10.14 cents per pound this time in March. One year ago, the national average was 9.34 cents per pound.

HDPE has notched new records. Natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs now averages 81.88 cents per pound. This compares with 77.25 cents last month. Many regions are reporting prices currently around 86.00 cents per pound. The price was 33.75 cents one year ago.

Color HDPE is also up again, now trading at 30.13 cents per pound, up from 23.63 cents last month. This compares to 4.64 cents one year ago.

Aluminum, which has historically been the highest-value material dropped into curbside bins, also continued to increase in price over the past month. Used beverage cans (UBCs) are now at 64.13 cents per pound, compared with 61.06 cents last month. This material was trading at an average of 40.13 cents per pound one year ago.

A number of other curbside recyclables grades are also up or flat over the past month. 

For fibers, sorted residential papers (PS 56) are up again, now averaging $55 per ton, compared with $48 last month. Mixed paper (PS 54) is also up 6%, now averaging $34 per ton. And the average price of high-grade papers is up by $10 per ton this month. Specifically, sorted office papers (PS 37) are now trading for about $115 per ton.

In plastics, polypropylene is now 29.69 cents per pound, compared to 28.34 cents last month. This plastic averaged 5.69 cents per pound one year ago.

The national average price of Grade A film is up again, now at 15.63 cents, compared to 13.69 cents per pound last month. Grade B film is now 5.63 cents, up from 5.13 cents per pound last month, while Grade C film remains a low 0.88 cents.

Lastly, in metals, baled steel cans are still trading for about $230 per ton.

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.

Van Dyk