|RECYCLED RESIN PRICES|
|PET Bottles (Clean)|
These days, everyone is talking about being “green.” That spurs recycling activity, which should mean more availability of recycled material and lower prices. But the other side of the coin is growing demand for reclaimed plastics. Said one recycler, “Many large users are talking about post-consumer content in their products. There just has never been as many people pushing for recycling at the same time. Even the retailers are involved.”
Meanwhile, prices for recycled polyethylene film resin have remained steady. The same is true for polypropylene, where only post-industrial flake has seen higher prices.
In May, recycled HDPE prices had slipped 1¢ to 2¢/lb since earlier in the year. That’s good news for processors who are still seeing price hikes on the virgin side. But recyclers say the available scrap is less plentiful than it should be to meet strong demand. Some recyclers worry that if virgin resin prices keep going up and up, there may be some shrinkage in domestic plastics markets, which also hurts availability of reclaimable resins.
Recycled PET prices, on the other hand, rose 2¢ to 3¢/lb in the last quarter. One analyst said, “I see some of the price indexes predicting more increases for virgin. This, plus higher energy costs, will ultimately push up recycled prices, too.”
Going into the busy season for PET consumption, scrap supply has been lighter than usual. “It’s partially because of the lightweighting of containers,” said one recycler. “We’re seeing some shift from carbonated soft drinks to waters and teas, which have lighter bottles, as well.” In the last few weeks, PepsiCo Inc. announced that it will reduce the amount of plastic used in its 500-cc bottles for flavored non-carbonated beverages by 20%.
A big issue, one recycler said, is that water bottles are not necessarily included in the deposit programs. Adding them to these programs would be a great help to recyclers, analysts say. If water bottles were introduced into the New York State deposit system alone, they reportedly would increase available material by at least 20%.