Resource Recycling News

Prices collapse for bales of recovered plastics

Market graph iconJuly has seen sweeping drops in the value of PET, HDPE and PP, according to the latest pricing survey. Prices also fell for recycled aluminum cans.

The national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars plummeted 30% this month and is now trading at an average of 26.16 cents per pound. That compares to 37.50 cents per pound this time last month. Some regions are still trading as high as 35.00 cents per pound for spot loads, but others are offering as low as 15.00 cents. PET was trading at 23.55 cents one year ago.

The price of natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs is also down by double-digit figures. Natural HDPE is selling for an average of 46.75 cents per pound, a 17% reduction from 56.19 cents last month. The price was 106.34 cents this time last year.

Color HDPE is down even more, having declined by 25%. This grade is now trading at 22.03 cents per pound. It was 29.28 cents this time last month. It averaged 56.78 cents one year ago.

The national average for polypropylene is down 27%, trading at 24.94 cents per pound. It was 34.13 cents last month and 39.22 cents one year ago.

A steep drop was also observed in used beverage cans. The national average price for aluminum cans dropped by 16%, from 88.75 cents per pound last month to 74.38 cents per pound. This material was trading at an average of 71.13 cents per pound this time last year.

Another curbside metal, steel cans, also dropped this month. Steel cans are averaging $222 per ton, down from $193 per ton last month, or a drop of 13%. The price was $249 per ton one year ago.

More stability – and even some good news – can be found in the fiber markets. 

The national average price for corrugated containers (PS 11) is up $2 per ton this month, now averaging $131 per ton, the same as this time last year.

Sorted residential papers (PS 56) are up $2 per ton, from $105 last month to $107 per ton this month. This compares with $92 per ton one year ago. 

Mixed paper (PS 54) is down $1, now at $69 per ton. This compares with $74 per ton this time last year. 

Sorted office papers (PS 37) are up $10 per ton, now trading for about $230 per ton, compared with an average $141 one year ago.

Lastly, film prices have also been more consistent lately. 

The national average for Grade A film is now at 22.56 cents per pound, compared to 22.94 last month and 18.81 cents one year ago. 

Grade B film is still 8.19 cents, compared to 7.50 one year ago. 

Grade C film is still averaging 1.13 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 or 330-956-8911.


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