U.S. MRFs are bearing lower prices for curbside fiber and plastic loads this month, with particularly painful declines reported for HDPE and PP.
The national average price of post-consumer natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs is now 56.44 cents per pound, down 26% from the 76.31 cents reported last month. Natural HDPE prices have been falling since they hit a record high in September. The price was 63.00 cents this time last year and 23.00 cents five years ago.
Following natural, the national average price of color HDPE is down by one-third this month. The plastic grade is now trading at 26.63 cents per pound, compared with 39.81 cents last month. This grade averaged 17.06 cents one year ago.
Another curbside polyolefin grade, polypropylene (PP), has also fallen steeply. PP is now at 18.94 cents per pound, compared with 23.25 cents last month, or down about 19%. PP was at 7.00 cents one year ago.
Residential fibers are also down across the board this month.
The average price for corrugated containers (PS 11) is down 11%, now trading at an average of $142 per ton, compared with $160 last month. OCC was trading for about $66 per ton this time last year and $108 per ton five years ago.
Sorted residential papers (PS 56) are down 11%, now averaging $94 per ton, compared with $106 last month and $44 per ton one year ago.
Mixed paper (PS 54) is also down, from an average of $90 per ton last month to the current $76. The current price is, remarkably, a return to the exact same $76 level it was five years ago. This grade was $33 per ton this time last year.
Sorted office papers (PS 37) remain firm at about $165 per ton.
More pricing stability has been seen in the metals recovered at the curb.
The national average price for sorted, baled aluminum cans is 76.06 cents per pound, compared with 77.88 cents last month. UBCs were trading at an average of 49.19 cents per pound this time last year.
Sorted, baled steel cans remain steady in the range of $270 per ton. This compares with a low of $80 per ton this time last year and $109 per ton five years ago.
Other plastic grades have shown either smaller drops or are flat this month.
PET beverage bottles and jars dropped by 5%. The price is now averaging 18.28 cents per pound, compared with 19.34 cents per pound this time last month. Some regions are still trading as high as 23.00 cents per pound, however. PET was trading at 6.55 cents one year ago and 10.35 cents five years ago.
The national average price of Grade A film remains steady. It is now at 20.50 cents per pound, compared to 20.75 cents per pound last month and 9.44 cents one year ago.
Grade B film is now at 7.25 cents per pound, compared to 7.38 last month.
Grade C film is still 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 Boulanger-Bosley at [email protected] or 330-956-8911.