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Prices of recycled plastics continue to rise: this is the reason

May 17, 2024

Prices of recycled plastics for the US market registered increases during the first weeks of May, continuing an upward trend that began last fall.

According to Recycling Markets ' Secondary Materials Pricing (SMP) database , the average price of post-consumer natural High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is up to 32.44 cents per pound. The price of this resin in the month of April was 30.63 cents, although it remains well below the highs recorded in the same month of 2023, when it was quoted at up to 74.59 cents.

The U.S. national average price for colored HDPE also rose this month, averaging 23.94 cents per pound, compared to 20.50 cents last month and 16.09 cents a year ago.

rPET prices also rise

The average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars rose again this month, settling at an average of 15.09 cents per pound compared to 14.22 cents per pound at this time last month.

Some regional contracts, however, are trading between 16 and 18 cents per pound.

The average price of corrugated containers, PS 11, increased slightly marginally to an average of $106 per ton compared to $105 last month.

The average price for sorted and packaged UBC is 69.81 cents per pound, compared to 65.81 for aluminum cans last month. Last year around this time it was 71 cents per pound.

AIMPLAS promotes recycling and circular economy projects in companies in the plastic sector

The PP remains stable, but the movies go up

The average price of post-consumer Polypropylene (PP) for the US market remained at 6 cents per pound.

Finally, the prices of recycled films also registered increases to be as follows:

  • Grade A film: 17.63 cents per pound.
  • B-grade film: 7.5 cents per pound
  • Grade C film: nominal 0.13 cents per pound

Why are the prices of recycled plastics rising?

The sharp increase in petrochemical production in China and the United States has generated an excess in the global supply of industrial chemicals used in the production of polymers, which has caused the prices of recycled plastic to be higher than that of virgin plastics. .

According to an analysis by S&P Global , in 2023, China was the nation responsible for 60% of the increase in global petrochemical capacity. Production also increased in the United States, due to the shale gas boom, which led to an increase in the supply of materials such as Polyethylene that had not been seen since the 1980s.

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