Fall is bringing a rise in recyclables pricing, with curbside fiber and plastics grades experiencing notable increases in November. Market graph icon

For fibers, the national average price for corrugated containers (PS 11) increased this month by $4 per ton, from $73 to $77 per ton. This compares with $30 per ton this time last year. OCC prices have been steadily climbing throughout 2023 after they hit a floor of $29 a ton in December 2022. 

Mixed paper (PS 54) is also up $5 from last month and is now at $33 per ton. This compares with $0 per ton this time last year. Just like OCC, mixed paper has been increasing in value for the past year. In fact, in November 2022, a ton of mixed paper averaged negative $1.50. 

Sorted residential papers (PS 56) are up again and are now trading for around $46 per ton. This compares to $22 per ton one year ago. 

Finally for paper, sorted office papers (PS 37) remain unchanged this month, at $132 per ton. This compares with an average $239 per ton one year ago.

MRFs are also enjoying rising prices for key curbside plastics. 

The national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars is up again this month, now averaging 10.00 cents per pound, compared with 8.80 cents per pound last month. Some regional contracts are yielding as high as 13.00 to 14.00 cents per pound. This grade has now reached levels of one year ago, when it was trading at 10.10 cents per pound.

Natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) has also moved up. This key curbside grade is now at an average 26.97 cents per pound. This compares with 25.13 cents last month and 59.03 cents this time last year.

A much more substantial jump has taken place in pricing for color HDPE. This grade moved up 32% this month, now at an average 16.31 cents per pound. It was 12.38 cents last month and 9.00 cents one year ago.

Other recyclables grades are largely unchanged. 

For metals, the national average for sorted, baled aluminum cans remains at 61.00 cents per pound. It was 65.00 cents per pound this time last year.

Sorted, baled steel cans also remain constant, at $210 per ton. The price was $155 per ton one year ago.

Plastic film grades have also held steady. 

The national average price of post-consumer polypropylene (PP) remains unchanged at 5.06 cents per pound. PP was 5.38 cents one year ago.

Grade A film is still at 13.88 cents per pound. It traded at 17.81 cents one year ago.

Grade B film remains unchanged at 6.88 cents. 

Grade C film remains at a nominal 0.13 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 www.recyclingmarkets.net. You can also contact Christina Boulanger-Bosley at [email protected] or call 330-956-8911.

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