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The end of the year has brought a little gift for MRFs, with pricing for OCC, papers and key plastics higher in December.

The national average price for corrugated containers (PS 11) is up again, from $77 in November to $80 per ton this month. This compares with $29 per ton this time last year.

OCC prices collapsed in late-summer 2022, but they’ve been steadily creeping back up for over a year now and they’re now back to what they were in September 2022. 

Mixed paper (PS 54) is also up by $5 and is now trading at $38 per ton. This compares with $0 per ton this time last year. 

Sorted residential papers (PS 56) are up again $4, now around $51 per ton. This compares with $23 per ton one year ago. 

Important plastic containers are also fetching some higher prices in December. 

The national average for post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars is now 11.02 cents per pound. That’s up from 10 cents per pound this time last month. Some regional contracts are yielding as high as 13 cents to 15 cents per pound. This grade has now surpassed levels of one year ago, when it was trading at 10.75 cents per pound.

Natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) has also moved up. This grade is now at an average 29.50 cents per pound. This compares with 26.97 cents last month and 60.06 cents this time last year.

Following natural, the average price of color HDPE also moved up again this month. Color HDPE is now at an average 18.81 cents per pound. It was 16.31 cents last month and 9 cents one year ago.

For MRFs, the only negative news was a slight decline in scrap PP prices. Polypropylene (PP)  is now at 4.94 cents per pound, down from 5.06 last month and 5.38 cents one year ago.

Prices for the other metal, plastic and paper grades have remained unchanged. 

Aluminum cans remain steady at 61.00 cents per pound. The price of UBCs was 65.00 cents per pound this time last year.

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

Similarly, no changes have been seen in the film markets. 

The national average price of Grade A film remains unchanged at 13.88 cents per pound. It traded at 17.25 cents one year ago. 

Grade B film also remains unchanged at 6.88 cents. 

Finally, Grade C film remains at a nominal 0.13 cents per pound.

Looking to paper, sorted office papers (PS 37) remain unchanged, at $132 per ton. This compares with average $231 per ton 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.

For a free trial to SMP’s Online Post-Consumer Pricing Index, visit the Recycling Markets website ( You can also contact Christina at or call 330-956-8911.