September 19, 2021

Hot Markets, Commodity Prices and Recycled Content: What’s Next

More than halfway through 2021, recyclables remain a hot commodity. Prices for paper and most plastic curbside recyclables are at or near all time highs. After three years of record-setting lows, recyclers are enjoying this change.  

Yet, people keep asking me if these prices will last. The answer, of course, is no. Recyclables are commodities. Fluctuating prices are second nature to commodities. However, barring the unexpected, recycling markets should stay strong for a while.  After all, demand has swamped supply. Veteran scrap dealers like to say recyclables are bought, not sold. Today’s markets reflect that experience. Buyers want more than what is available.

Prices for used corrugated boxes are a good example. These boxes, known as “OCC” are primarily generated by large retail stores and other…

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