aluminum bales

In light of last year’s high, bale prices in recent months look especially bleak. | Huguette Roe/Shutterstock

Northeastern U.S. MRFs reported their recyclables bales fetched an average of $100 per ton during the third quarter, a steep drop from the prior quarter. 

According to the quarterly survey from the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC), MRFs reported the blended average value of a ton of recyclables was $100.07 during the third quarter of 2022, down 41% from the prior quarter. That number includes the negative value that comes from disposing of residuals. 

Without factoring in the cost of disposing of residuals, the MRFs reported their blended recyclables were valued at about $109.94 per ton, down 39% from the prior quarter. 

A year earlier, in the third quarter of 2021, prices hit recent highs, which means this year’s third-quarter numbers look weaker even on a year-over-year comparison. The price, counting residuals, was down 43% year over year, and the price without including residuals disposal was down 40%. 

The news hasn’t been any better in terms of sorting and marketing costs. The dozen MRFs responding to NERC’s survey reported an average recyclables processing costs of $93 per ton during the third quarter of 2022, up 9% from the second quarter and up 2% year over year. 

Twelve MRFs in eight northeastern states provided information for the third-quarter report. They include single-stream, dual-stream and source-separated facilities.

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