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
January 2024

Aluminum & Foil $1,225.00
HDPE (#2) Natural $568.80
PETE (#1) $228.20
HDPE (#2) Colored $365.00
Metal $212.19
Rigid Plastics $5.00
OCC (Cardboard) $87.50
Plastics #3 thru #7 $11.80
Mixed Paper $48.44
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
January 2024

3.4% x $1,225.00
= $41.65
8.0% x $228.20
= $18.26
1.4% x $568.80
= $7.96
3.0% x $212.19
= $6.37
13.9% x $87.50
= $12.16
2.1% x $365.00
= $7.67
3.1% x $5.00
= $0.16
4.5% x $11.80
= $0.53
39.4% x $48.44
= $19.09
0.8% x $2.50
= $0.02
20.4% x $-24.69
= $-5.04

100%

$108.82