- Post-consumer PET prices have hit record lows since early 2008 with bottles offered for sale at 3 cents to 5 cents per pound, down from about 6.5 to 8 cents per pound in November — though in the first week of December, many PET end users saw a leveling out or rise in some regions, as reported in Waste 360.
- Meanwhile, post-consumer HDPE prices have increased by 13% since late summer from 23.9 cents per pound in August to 27 cents per pound in early December. Colored HDPE has experienced an 85% increase from August to early December (from 14.56 cents per pound to 26.9 cents per pound).
- Corrugated paper prices have dropped after rising in the third quarter, now standing at $86 per ton. During the past 15 months, the national average price of other post-consumer paper grades have dropped by 10% to 20%.
The post-consumer commodities market has been especially volatile and unpredictable lately, as seen by such events as the PS-11 corrugated paper roller coaster ride. The material has been all over the map since late 2014: dropping 20% from September to March, rising 12% in the next six months, then dropping by 6% to the current $86 per ton.
Some stakeholders are holding on in "watch and wait mode," including the many who have invested heavily in PET, and are banking on a continued rebound after a dip.
Waste Management CEO David Steiner said recently that he is concerned about the current economic state of recycling.
"I don’t want to get hurt by recycling," he told CNBC, explaining that the last three years of the recycling market hurt Waste Management "pretty badly." But he has been through rough rides before and is staying on path.
"We learned how to manage through bad times," said Steiner.