The national average price of UBCs increased by 5% over the past month, but prices for PET and natural HDPE bales dropped 11% and 4%, respectively.
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The price for sorted, baled aluminum cans (often referred to as UBCs) moved up again, now at 81.13 cents per pound, compared with 77.50 cents last month. This material was trading at an average 45.75 cents per pound this time last year.

Moving in the other direction were some key curbside plastics. The national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars fell by 11% and is now at an average 22.78 cents per pound, compared with 25.56 cents per pound this time last month; however, some regions are still trading as high as 26.00 cents per pound. One year ago, PET was trading at 6.17 cents per pound.

The national average price of post-consumer natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) also dropped, breaking its year-and-a-half-long upward march deep into record territory. As of this month, natural HDPE is averaging 104.25 cents per pound, compared with 108.44 cents last month. Several regions are reporting prices around 109.00 cents per pound, however. The price was 62.00 cents one year ago.

Along with natural HDPE, the price of color HDPE is also down. The plastic is now trading at 54.19 cents per pound, compared with 58.13 cents last month. This compares with 14.59 cents this time last year.

Prices have remained relatively flat for a number of other recovered commodities. 

For fibers, the national average for corrugated containers (PS 11) leveled off this month. OCC is now trading at an average $169 per ton, compared to an average $171 last month. The OCC grade was trading for around $60 per ton one year ago and had seen values soar for much of 2021.

Sorted residential papers (PS 56) are now averaging $116 per ton, compared to about $118 last month and $38 per ton one year ago. 

Mixed paper (PS 54) is also even, from an average $96 last month to the current $95 per ton.

Sorted office papers (PS 37) remain relatively unchanged and are now trading for about $165 per ton.

Other metals and plastics are also flat. Sorted, baled steel cans remain constant, at an average $250 per ton. This compares to a low of $78 per ton one year ago.

The national average price of post-consumer polypropylene materials is now at 32.69 cents per pound, compared to 33.16 cents last month. It was 5.38 cents one year ago.

The national average price of Grade A film remained firm, now at 20.63 cents, compared to 20.38 cents per pound last month and 8.38 cents one year ago. 

Grade B film is steady at 7.56 cents, unchanged over the last month. 

Grade C film is averaging 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 at or call 330-956-8911.