Recycling Economics

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
October 2021

HDPE (#2) Natural $2,163.80
Aluminum & Foil $1,622.60
HDPE (#2) Colored $1,161.20
PETE (#1) $468.80
Metal $249.69
OCC (Cardboard) $169.38
Rigid Plastics $85.00
Mixed Paper $95.00
Aseptics & Cartons $2.50
Plastics #3 thru #7 $2.60
Glass $-24.06

Source: Recycling Markets.net

So here's the value ($)

Chart
Table

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

Blended Value of Recyclable Material
October 2021

3.4% x $1,622.60
= $55.17
1.4% x $2,163.80
= $30.29
8.0% x $468.80
= $37.50
39.4% x $95.00
= $37.43
13.9% x $169.38
= $23.54
2.1% x $1,161.20
= $24.39
3.0% x $249.69
= $7.49
3.1% x $85.00
= $2.64
0.8% x $2.50
= $0.02
4.5% x $2.60
= $0.12
20.4% x $-24.06
= $-4.91

100%

$213.68