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Recycled PET prices go up, HDPE heads down.

Since late summer recycled PET prices have risen about l[cent]/lb, while recycled HDPE prices have slid 23[cents]/lb. Looking ahead into 1998, the volatility of the past year seems destined to continue. Recyclers' markets are influenced primarily by the relative pricing of recycled resin and virgin wide-spec material. These two compete directly, and when their prices are close, processor's generally choose the wide-spec.

 Pellets Flake
 [cents]/lb [cents]/lb

PET Bottles (Clean)

Clear Post-Consumer 36-37 21-26
Green Post-Consumer 28-29 18-21

HDPE (Clean)

Natural Post-Consumer 35-40 23-27
Mixed Colors 26-33 18-23


Black 30-34 26-30
Natural 38-42 -
Black 18-21 8-11
Natural 23-28 18-22


Post-Industrial 25-32 18-22
Post-Consumer 30-34 -

Polyethylene Film

Stretch 28 -
Printed/Mixed 13 -
Printed 20 -
Not Printed 24 -


Flexible Rigid 35-45 -
Rigid 50-65 -


Prices of baled PET bottles have climbed a little bit, due partly to stronger demand from the strapping market. Overall, there has been tighter availability of wide-spec material, which recyclers say is unusual for this time of year, when resin producers are usually unloading excess PET inventories.

Right now, processors say recycled-PET supply and demand are more balanced than earlier in the year. But that may not last. Still more virgin PET capacity is expected, and exports are currently in a lull, so recyclers and processors say it's anybody's guess as to what will happen to prices in the next few months.


Long-predicted drops in recycled HDPE prices arrived in October. Like PET, HDPE resin usage is higher in the summer months. Some industry analysts believe the recycled HDPE market is headed for a crash, and prices could end up in the low teens. "The material has been overpriced for some time, particularly in the post-consumer scrap market," says one user of recycled resin.

Slumping virgin prices and looser supplies are contributing factors. Recyclers say there is a lot of wide-spec available on the market at very low prices, thereby pulling down recycled resin tabs.

Tabs were further depressed in October when some recyclers say they were informed that Hancor, Inc. of Findlay, Ohio, would buy no more recycled post-consumer HDPE for its pipe-making operations until prices came down substantially. Hancor accounts for a 20-30% of the recycled HDPE market, one recycler estimates.

A Hancor spokesman told PLASTICS TECHNOLOGY that the company has indeed reduced its materials purchases lately but attributes that more to the seasonal dip in its business than to prices. According to the spokesman, Hancor made no official announcement that it would stop buying recycled HDPE, but it has had discussions with suppliers about the high cost of material, which Hancor feels is not in line with overall supply and demand.
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Title Annotation:polyethylene terephthalate; high density polyethylene
Author:Block, Debbie Galante
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Dec 1, 1997
Previous Article:PE & PP prices softer in '98, PS firmer.
Next Article:Where the growth is in ... toys.

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