Market graph iconPrices for curbside recyclables have surged across the board, with OCC and mixed paper values increasing sharply and natural HDPE crossing the $1 threshold for the first time.

The national average price for corrugated containers (PS 11) is up 20% this month, now trading at an average of $112 per ton, up from about $93 last month. By comparison, the OCC grade was trading for about $75 per ton one year ago.

Mixed paper (PS 54) is also up from an average of $35 last month to the current $55 per ton. 

Sorted residential papers (PS 56) are up 36%, now averaging $75 per ton, compared with $55 last month. 

Sorted office papers (PS 37) are up 8%, now trading for about $126 per ton.

In plastics, some key curbside materials have also seen prices skyrocket of late. 

Post-consumer natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs continues to reach new highs. The price has now crossed the $1 threshold. As of this month, a pound is averaging 100.25 cents, compared with 89.31 cents last month. Several regions are reporting prices around $1.05 per pound. The price was 36 cents one year ago.

The national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars moved up by 37% over the past month. The price is now averaging 21.47 cents per pound, compared to 15.69 cents per pound this time last month. Some regions are trading as high as 26.00 cents per pound. California premium bales are trading in the range of 34 cents to 37 cents.

The national average price of color HDPE is also up again, now trading at 51.88 cents per pound, up from 38.44 cents last month. This compares with 3.63 cents this time last year.

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This summer’s virtual Resource Recycling Conference will feature a one-on-one conversation about the future of recycled fiber markets with Marc Forman, president of Georgia-Pacific Recycling. The session will take place at 11:30 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, August 4. Find more about the 2021 conference and register today at

The national average price of post-consumer polypropylene is now 35.38 cents per pound, compared to 33.31 cents last month and an average of 3.69 cents per pound one year ago.

Curbside metals also increased in value. The national average price for sorted, baled aluminum cans moved up 9%, now at 70.00 cents per pound, compared with 64.13 cents last month. This material was trading at an average of 39.31 cents per pound this time last year.

Sorted, baled steel cans are now trading at an average of $250 per ton, up from about $233 per ton last month.

Films also either increased or remained flat, depending on the grade. 

The national average price of Grade A film is up, now at 18.06 cents, compared with 17.63 cents per pound last month and 7.00 cents one year ago. 

Grade B film is now 7.13 cents, up from 6.56 cents per pound last month. 

Grade C film remains at 0.88 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. 

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.