|RECYCLED RESIN PRICES|
|PET Bottles (Clean)|
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.
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.”
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.
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.