Like virgin resins, recycled plastics prices were going through the roof all year long.
RECYCLED RESIN PRICES
 
Pellets
¢/lb
Flake
¢/lb
PET Bottles (Clean)
 
 
Clear Post-Consumer
63-72
50-57
Green Post-Consumer
50-59
47-52
HDPE (Clean)
 
 
Natural Post-Consumer
42-45
37-39
Mixed Colors
34-37
30-33
Post-Industrial
51-56
47-52
Polystyrene
 
 
Post-Consumer
 
 
  High Impact
 
 
    Black
58-64
52-62
    Natural
65-72
  General Purpose
 
 
    Black
47-49
38
    Natural
62-64
46-52
Polypropylene
 
 
Post-Industrial
33-36
33-45
Post-Consumer
51-66
47-52
Polyethylene Film
 
 
Post-Industrial
 
 
  LDPE
43
25-27
  LLDPE
 
 
   Clear
43-53
25-27
   Mixed Color
27-35
25-27
PVC
 
 
Post-Industrial
 
 
  Flexible
45-55
28-35
  Rigid
60-73
32-47

Like virgin resins, recycled plastics prices were going through the roof all year long, gaining as much as 20¢/lb in some cases. That all came to a screeching halt in the last week of October, when the markets collapsed. One supplier said recycled HDPE prices plunged 19¢/lb in that one week. And HDPE was not an isolated case. Prices for most recycled materials are either back to December 2007 levels or close to them. That would be good news for buyers if their markets remained strong, but they’re down too.

Recycled resin prices are low for another reason: There is no export market left, to speak of. Thus, if a processor has a job to run, he’s likely able to find virgin resin costing no more than recycled material has cost until now.

 

R-POLYETHYLENE

Before the collapse, manufacturers were still busy. So, even though recycled prices should have begun to fall when virgin prices did, they held their own for a while. “When we got wind of what the November prices were going to be, we saw HDPE lose about 19¢/lb in one shot,” one source said.

“Prices are still not holding,” said another source. “Companies and individuals are just not spending money, but are waiting instead until everything shakes out.”

 

R-PET

Recycled PET prices are just about where they were early in the year. Clear post-consumer pellets may be 2¢/lb higher in some markets. Durable goods manufacturing is off, as are building starts, which affect markets for R-PET carpeting or strapping.

 

OTHER MATERIALS

Recycled PS pricing is even lower than it was at this time last year. It is down a cent or two, but is likely to go down further.

That’s also true of recycled PVC, which saw at least a 9¢ decrease on the low end.