Plastics News is lowering prices on multiple types of recycled resins this week to reflect lower demand for those materials.
In recent months, average North American selling prices for recycled polyethylene resins have decreased an average of 20 cents per pound, market sources told PN. Regional prices for film-grade recycled PE resins are down an average of 8 cents per pound.
Average North American selling prices for all grades of recycled PET, polypropylene, PVC and polystyrene are down an average of 15 cents per pound in recent months. All of these changes are being shown on this week's PN resin pricing chart.
The North American market for recycled resin has been impacted by lower virgin resin prices, which have been caused by steep drops in global crude oil prices since late 2014. Oil prices had been above $100 per barrel for an extended period but began falling in late 2014 and have yet to recover. Prices dropped below $40 per barrel at one point, and they were near $47 in late trading Sept. 17.
Oil remains a global price-setter for commodity plastic resins, even though natural gas is the most widely-used feedstock in North America and the Middle East. The recycled resin price drop also has made life difficult for recyclers throughout North America.
Leading recycler Waste Management Inc. of Houston has closed down several money-losing material recycling facilities (MRFs). WMI recycling vice president Brent Bell recently told PN that “anytime you're upside down in the equation, that's not a sustainable business model.”
WMI also has started to push harder for contracts that share the risk of the up-and-down commodities market with their customers, Bell added. An Ohio-based recycler also recently told PN that 2015 has been a hard year for his firm.
“The demand's just not there,” he said.