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.
RECYCLED RESIN PRICES
 
Pellets
¢/lb
Flake
¢/lb
PET Bottles (Clean)
 
 
Clear Post-Consumer
73-76
63-66
Green Post-Consumer
62-65
52-55
HDPE (Clean)
 
 
Natural Post-Consumer
59-64
56-61
Mixed Colors
45-49
43-46
Post-Industrial
51-56
43-46
Polystyrene
 
 
Post-Consumer
 
 
  High Impact
 
 
    Black
52-62
53-56
    Natural
60-65
  General Purpose
 
 
    Black
43-45
35-42
    Natural
60-65
46-52
Polypropylene
 
 
Post-Industrial
33-36
35-60
Post-Consumer
51-58
47-52
Polyethylene Film
 
 
Post-Industrial
 
 
  LDPE
60
44-46
  LLDPE
 
 
   Clear
43-55
44-46
   Mixed Color
27-50
44-46
PVC
 
 
Post-Industrial
 
 
  Flexible
45-55
21-23
  Rigid
60-73
32-47

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.

 

R-HDPE SOFT

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.

 

R-PET

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%.