After a spring of soft prices, signs point to firming and possible increases ahead. Housing starts are down, but automotive manufacturing seems to be holding its own. Both markets are big users of recycled plastics. Stronger prices for virgin resins also suggest higher recycled resin prices lie ahead.
RECYCLED RESIN PRICES
 Pellets
¢/lb
Flake
¢/lb
PET Bottles (Clean)  
Clear Post-Consumer62-6750-53
Green Post-Consumer50-5438-42
HDPE (Clean)  
Natural Post-Consumer53-5741-45
Mixed Colors40-4629-32
Polystyrene  
Post-Consumer  
  High Impact  
    Black62-6553-56
    Natural69-72
  General Purpose  
    Black43-4535-40
    Natural60-6542-46
Polypropylene  
Post-Industrial36-3938-39
Post-Consumer51-54
Polyethylene Film  
Post-Consumer  
  Stretch28
  Printed/Mixed13
Post-Industrial  
  Printed20
  Not Printed24
PVC  
Post-Industrial  
  Flexible55-65
  Rigid60-73

After a spring of soft prices, signs point to firming and possible increases ahead. Housing starts are down, but automotive manufacturing seems to be holding its own. Both markets are big users of recycled plastics. Stronger prices for virgin resins also suggest higher recycled resin prices lie ahead.

 

R-HDPE headed up?

In the last quarter, some markets for natural-color post-consumer HDPE saw prices drop as much as 8¢/lb. Said one recycler, “We sell a lot of material into the pipe market, and that was affected by declining housing starts. Also, there was quite a lot of wide-spec available last month.” However, suppliers’ efforts to push through virgin price increases in June could affect recycled HDPE this month or soon after.

 

R-PET mostly soft

In the last quarter, R-PET also lost 8¢/lb in some markets. The spring was wet and cold in many areas, cutting into soft-drink sales. More erosion has been reported in clear than in green prices, especially for flake. Green pellet prices hold up better because there are fewer suppliers. “Most of the low-end markets will take flake, but if they can’t get it at the right price, they just won’t buy. The higher-end markets for recycled pellets—for example, FDA applications that require melt filtration--are basically competing with virgin markets. That’s why they can hold pricing a little better,” one supplier explained.

 

Other materials

While housing starts are declining, recycled PVC suppliers say window profiles have remained strong and are keeping post-industrial R-PVC prices fairly stable.

Recycled polypropylene prices dropped a couple of cents on the high end but have been holding their own in the mid-range, where prices are around 35¢ to 39¢/lb for post-industrial grades.

Recycled PS has come down because its strongest market (horticultural) has passed its seasonal peak. But industry observers say R-PS prices will likely go back up in the fall.