Supply has slimmed, and pricing increased on polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and polypropylene (PP) scraps. Pricing has reached an all-time high. High-grade PET bales are at 30 centers per pound in the state of California, with prices in the Midwest and Southeast at 20 cents per pound.
The demand has increased thanks in part to supply constraints that have impacted new material throughout North America. Supply distributions are broader across plastics that have yet to be recycled, with a large portion of the industry rushing eagerly to collect new plastic. The allocations come as chemical producers in the Gulf Coast are still recovering from severe winter weather disruptions for industry-wide production processes.
Natural and colored HDPE bales along with polypropylene tubs and lids have reached a new high for pricing and sales. HDPE bottle bales sell for up to 98 cents per pound, colored sells for up to 46 cents per pound, and PP tub and lid bales go for up to 39 cents per bound. HDPE has also increased in popularity in recent years as it takes far less energy to manufacture than other types of materials used in piping, making it a sought-after material to boost environmentally friendly focused efforts.
Essentially, rigid bulk bales have exponentially increased. Natural HDPE has far exceeded supply. HIgher costs of PP could cause recovery facilities to invest instead in recovering this type of material.