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
November 2022

Aluminum & Foil $1,300.00
HDPE (#2) Natural $1,160.60
Metal $177.50
PETE (#1) $185.60
HDPE (#2) Colored $179.40
Rigid Plastics $70.00
OCC (Cardboard) $30.00
Plastics #3 thru #7 $6.80
Aseptics & Cartons $2.50
Mixed Paper $-1.50
Glass $-25.31

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
November 2022

3.4% x $1,300.00
= $44.20
8.0% x $185.60
= $14.85
1.4% x $1,160.60
= $16.25
3.0% x $177.50
= $5.33
13.9% x $30.00
= $4.17
2.1% x $179.40
= $3.77
3.1% x $70.00
= $2.17
4.5% x $6.80
= $0.31
0.8% x $2.50
= $0.02
39.4% x $-1.50
= $-0.59
20.4% x $-25.31
= $-5.16

100%

$85.30