Plastic recycling faces setback in California after COVID-19 disruptions

The US recycled PET market has begun to open up again, following significant disruptions at the height of the coronavirus pandemic that led to nine out of ten bottle bill states forgoing their recycling commitments. At its height, recyclers in California were reporting as much as a 70% drop in Grade A post-consumer PET bottle bale supply and many material recovery facilities (MRFs) across the west coast and mid-west region were either shutting shop or reducing production significantly. Exacerbating this situation was a bearish virgin PET market. Virgin prices plummeted to $857/mt (around 39 cents/lb) on April 29, the lowest level seen since S&P Global Platts started assessing the product in February 2006 and nearly 42% below year-ago levels. This led many PET consumers to turn their backs on the recycled market. With such low virgin PET prices and concerns over supply availability of recycled PET, many large food and beverage packaging manufacturers entered into six to 12-month contractual agreements with virgin resin producers. Go deeper: Recycled plastics feel the heat from consumer demand “Supply is only a small part of the equation – with the decline in oil prices, virgin prices have had an unprecedented cost advantage in this… continue reading

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Source: CTRM Center

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