A survey of 16 MRFs in 10 northeastern states found the average blended value of a ton of curbside recyclables rose substantially in the third quarter. | Natallia Boroda/Shutterstock

Materials recovery facilities in the northeastern U.S. enjoyed a sharp increase in recyclables prices during the third quarter, according to a survey from the Northeast Recycling Council.

The blended value of a ton of recyclables (not counting disposal costs associated with residuals) was $184.63 in the third quarter of 2021, up nearly 38% from the second quarter and up 294% year over year.

Counting the negative value of residuals, the blended average price in the third quarter was $175.95 a ton, up 41% from the second quarter and up 338% year over year.

“Values for all commodities other than glass that are processed at residential MRFs continued to rise dramatically this quarter,” NERC’s report found.

The results of the quarterly survey from the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) roughly track with what the country’s largest garbage and recycling haulers reported for the third quarter, as well. Casella Waste Systems, which operates throughout the northeast region, reported that the average commodity price it enjoyed during the third quarter was $113 per ton higher than it was a year earlier. The higher values helped drive a double-digit increase in recycling revenue and triple-digit increase in recycling segment profitability.

The NERC survey also asks MRFs about their processing costs. For the third quarter, the average was $93 per ton, up 19% from the second quarter and up 11% year over year.

For the latest survey, NERC received data from 16 MRFs in 10 states, including single-stream, dual-stream and source-separating facilities.

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