Empty Plastic Bottles Go From Trash to Hot Commodity

The used plastic bottles best known for clogging the world’s oceans are in surprisingly short supply, as consumer brands compete to meet recycling targets.

Spot prices for recycled PET flakes that are made from plastic-bottle waste have almost doubled in Europe since the beginning of the year, data from S&P Global Platts shows. Prices have also increased in the U.S., where environmental rules on packaging are less strict, but not by as much. The cost of food-grade recycled PET has hit $1 a pound, up from around 64 cents before the pandemic, according to the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR).