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What the Latest Moves in Post-Consumer Recyclable Materials Prices Tell Us

Tuesday, January 19, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Anne Piacentino
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Source: Waste 360

The latest readings in post-consumer recyclable materials prices show that the national average prices of polyethylene terephthalate beverage bottles has leveled off; for natural high-density polyethylene has risen gradually and for de-inked news has experienced a fresh downturn.

Post-Consumer PET Prices Level Off

During the past six months, the national average price of post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) beverage bottles and jars dropped steadily by 55 percent, from 13.3 cents per pound last August to the current 8.6 cents per pound.

The only consolation for most managers of material recycling facilities (MRFs) is that national averages appear to have now leveled off in the 6- to 8-cent per pound range, compared to earlier offers in the 4-cent per pound range being presented late 2015.

Through the first two weeks of January, many PET end-users were finally reporting some steadiness for this grade in most regions.

These prices are as reported on the Secondary Materials Pricing (SMP) Index. This pricing represents what is being paid for post-consumer recyclable plastic materials in a sorted, baled format, picked up at most major recycling centers.

Post-Consumer HDPE Prices Trending Upward

During the last six months, the national average price of post-consumer natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs experienced a gradual 15-percent price increase, from 23.9 cents per pound last August to 27.5 cents per pound early January.

By comparison, the national average price of post-consumer colored high-density polyethylene (HDPE) also experienced a dramatic 60-percent increase, from 14.6 cents per pound in August to 23.4 cents per pound in December. However, the national average price for this grade has suddenly dropped 11 percent, to the current 21.1 cents per pound, in the first two weeks of this year.

These prices are as reported on the Secondary Materials Pricing (SMP) Index. This pricing represents what is being paid for post-consumer recyclable plastic materials in a sorted, baled format, picked up at most major recycling centers.

Post-Consumer News Grade Price Drops Again

During the past year, the national average price of most post-consumer paper grades trended up and down by 5-10 percent, unlike many of the post-consumer plastic grades, which experienced wider variances in national average prices.

Despite maintaining a static overall price during most of the past year, PS-8 News has suddenly experienced a downturn during the past three months.

The national average price for PS-8 de-inked news dropped 17.5 percent, from $66 per ton in August to $56 per ton this month. This recent price drop started in December when the national average price dropped 11 percent, from $65 per ton to $59 per ton. So far this month the national average price continued to drop another 4.8 percent.

These published prices are for post-consumer mill-size bales, FOB (freight on board) dealers’ plants, as reported on the Secondary Fiber Pricing (SFP) Index.

Robert Boulanger is currently president of Recycling Markets Limited, and director of the Commodity Pricing division. He has extensive experience in the operation and management of recycling plants, and is a long-time publisher in the recycling sector.


 Washington State Recycling Association | 545 Andover Park W, Ste 209, Tukwila, WA 98188 | 206.244.0311 | recycle@wsra.net

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