Market graph iconCompared with recent months, December has brought stable prices across the range of curbside recyclables, with OCC down a little bit and PET up slightly.  

First, the bad news for MRFs and other material sellers: The national average price for corrugated containers (PS 11) dropped $1 per ton, from an average $30 per ton last month to a current average $29 per ton. This compares with $141 per ton this time last year.

Then, some good news for MRFs: PET and HDPE container prices are up a bit. The national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars is now averaging 10.75 cents per pound. That’s compared to 10.13 cents per pound this time last month. Some regions are still trading as high as 13.00 cents per pound, with most offering as low as 9.00 cents. PET was trading at 18.28 cents one year ago.

And natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs is up marginally, now at an average 60.06 cents per pound. This compares to 59.03 cents last month and 56.44 cents this time last year.

For the most part, everything else has remained stable since November. 

Mixed paper (PS 54) remains in minus territory, at negative $1 per ton. 

Sorted residential papers (PS 56) is level, around $22 per ton. This compares with $94 per ton one year ago. 

Sorted office papers (PS 37) dropped by $22 per ton month over month, from $239 to $217 per ton. That compares with an average of $165 one year ago.

In metals, prices have been flat month to month. The national average price for aluminum cans is unchanged, at 65.00 cents per pound. This material was trading at an average 76.06 cents per pound this time last year.

Sorted, baled steel cans are unchanged from November, at an average $155 per ton. The price was $270 per ton one year ago.

The story is the same for other grades of plastic. 

The national average for color HDPE is still at 9.00 cents per pound, unchanged from November. This grade averaged 26.63 cents one year ago.

Polypropylene (PP) is also unchanged from November, trading at 5.38 cents per pound. PP was 18.94 cents one year ago.

The national average price of Grade A film is down marginally, at 17.25 cents per pound, compared to 17.81 last month and 20.50 cents one year ago. 

Grade B film is still 6.94 cents. 

Grade C film remains at a low 0.50 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.


City of Napa is hiring a Waste Prevention Specialist. Apply by January 8.