Following the volatile virgin-resin market, prices for recycled grades of PET, polystyrene, and PVC have soared in recent months. Recycled HDPE prices, on the other hand, appear stable and may even be heading for a downturn.
Recycled PS prices are up by 2-3¢/lb, processors report. “Demand is outstripping supply at the moment, but I don’t know why,” says one recycler. Another recycler confirms this increase in demand: “People whose doors I have been banging on for years, are now coming out of the woodwork and asking for material.”
Although there is no way of knowing how long recycled PS prices will remain high, one recycler expects it to last through May at least. That is when the seasonal boost in the horticultural market starts to wither, and it’s anyone’s guess what the supply/demand balance will look like then.
As for PET, virgin prices have been going up, but so have prices of baled bottles. One reason is said to be huge exports to China, which have led to reduced availability on the West Coast and thus purchases of bales from the East by some big Western recyclers. Clear pellets have gone up 2-4¢/lb in the past few months.
Recycled PVC prices have shot up about 6¢/lb in the first quarter of this year. This jump isn’t raising many eyebrows, since virgin PVC resin prices have been on the rise as well.
PET Bottles (Clean)
Clear Post-Consumer 42-48 34-37
Green Post-Consumer 32-36 20-22
Natural Post-Consumer 31-37 19-21
Mixed Colors 23-27 13-15
Black 32-35 25-27
Natural 38-40 –
Black 22-25 10-12
Natural 28-30 18-20
Post-Industrial 25-27 20-22
Post-Consumer 25-28 –
Stretch 28 –
Printed/Mixed 13 –
Printed 20 –
Not Printed 24 –
Flexible 35-45 –
Rigid 46-66 –