Recycling Economics

Understanding the economics behind recycling can help us all make
better decisions on which products and packaging we choose to buy.

Here's what we recycle (%)

Chart
Table

Estimate of Single-Family Household Recyclable Material Generation

Mixed Paper 39.4%
Glass 20.4%
OCC (Cardboard) 13.9%
PETE (#1) 8.0%
Plastics #3 thru #7 4.5%
Aluminum & Foil 3.4%
Rigid Plastics 3.1%
Metal 3.0%
HDPE (#2) Colored 2.1%
HDPE (#2) Natural 1.4%
Aseptics & Cartons 0.8%

% by weight

100%

Source: The Recycling Partnerhip's State of Curbside Report 2020

And here's the pricing ($/ton)

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Table

Recyclable Material Pricing ($/ton)
As you can see prices vary widely and are constantly changing.

Recyclable Material Pricing
June 2022

Aluminum & Foil $1,875.00
HDPE (#2) Natural $1,123.80
PETE (#1) $757.60
HDPE (#2) Colored $611.80
Metal $221.88
OCC (Cardboard) $128.75
Plastics #3 thru #7 $83.80
Rigid Plastics $80.00
Mixed Paper $70.31
Aseptics & Cartons $2.50
Glass $-24.69

Source: Recycling Markets.net

So here's the value ($)

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Table

Blended Value of the Recyclable Material
= percentage (chart 1) x pricing (chart 2)

Blended Value of Recyclable Material
June 2022

3.4% x $1,875.00
= $63.75
8.0% x $757.60
= $60.61
39.4% x $70.31
= $27.70
13.9% x $128.75
= $17.90
1.4% x $1,123.80
= $15.73
2.1% x $611.80
= $12.85
3.0% x $221.88
= $6.66
4.5% x $83.80
= $3.77
3.1% x $80.00
= $2.48
0.8% x $2.50
= $0.02
20.4% x $-24.69
= $-5.04

100%

$206.43