March has brought surges in prices for several curbside recyclables, with PET containers up 24%, aluminum cans up 25%, color HDPE up 32% and polypropylene up 30%.
The national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars jumped again this month. This grade is now selling for an average 33.42 cents per pound, compared with 26.88 cents per pound this time last month. Some regions are trading as high as 41.00 cents per pound. PET was trading at 10.14 cents one year ago.
Sorted, baled aluminum cans moved up another 25% this month. UBCs are now selling for an average of 123.81 cents per pound, compared with 99.19 cents last month. This material was trading at an average 61.06 cents per pound this time last year.
A couple of other recycled plastic grades also saw big jumps. Color HDPE is up 32% and is now trading at 25.75 cents per pound, compared with 19.50 cents last month. This grade averaged 23.63 cents one year ago.
Additionally, the national average price of post-consumer polypropylene is up 30%, trading at 29.44 cents per pound. That compares with 22.63 cents last month and 28.34 cents one year ago.
On the fiber side, the national average price for corrugated containers (PS 11) has remained steady month-to-month, trading at an average $134 per ton. OCC was trading for about $82 per ton this time last year.
Mixed paper (PS 54) is up 4%, from an average $68 per ton last month to the current $71. This grade was $31 per ton this time last year.
Sorted residential papers (PS 56) are up 9%, at $100 per ton. This compares with $92 last month and $48 per ton one year ago.
Sorted office papers (PS 37) are up 12% and are now trading for about $214 per ton, compared with $191 last month and an average $100 one year ago.
Other plastics are either down or flat this month.
Bucking the upward trend of color HDPE, natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is down 13% this month, now at an average 47.47 cents per pound. This compares with 54.56 cents last month. The price was 70.25 cents this time last year. The price has been falling since hitting a record of 108.44 cents in September 2021.
The national average price of Grade A film remains unchanged at 20.50 cents per pound. This grade was trading at 13.69 cents one year ago.
Grade B film is also unchanged at 7.25 cents per pound, compared to 5.13 one year ago.
Grade C film is still averaging 0.81 cents per pound.
Lastly, sorted, baled steel cans are down this month, now at an average $236 per ton. The price was $270 per ton last month, the same as one year ago.
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.