Recycling Market Snapshot: December 2012 and Year in Review


2012 is now in the books and here at InStream we are so grateful for our wonderful customers and vendor partners! Here’s to another great year of  green savings and increased revenue!

December was a relatively quiet month for ferrous scrap. Major grades traded at November levels, a slight disappointment on the heels of price increase projections. Market experts expect prices to follow historical trends and rise in January though they warn the increases may be modest. Look for further strengthening in February before the uncertainty of Spring begins a new period of volatility.

Ferrous scrap underwent a tumultuous year and tags finish 2012 at much lower levels than at the conclusion of 2011. Heavy Melt Scrap prices on average dropped $50 per gross ton over the course of the year. Pricing for shredded auto scrap was down $60/GT. Busheling was the unluckiest grade, losing approximately $110/GT over the course of 2012.

Copper scrap pricing ticked upward slightly in December, with increases between $0.01 and $0.05 per pound. Scrap pricing for the red metal finished approximately 4% higher than last year.

Aluminum scrap did not gain as much momentum and remained relatively unchanged from November’s prices as most grades rose $0.01/lb. Aluminum echoed copper by posting an overall increase in pricing of approximately 4% across the entirety of 2012.

Recycled cardboard (OCC) pricing surged $15 per ton in December due to increased demand from paper mills and limited supply. The latest hike pushed OCC prices in the Southeast back to the same levels as 2011’s year end. Cardboard tags jumped in the Spring before a swoon in late summer sent pricing into the red for the year. A late Autumn rally restored order.

Pricing for sorted office paper (SOP) dropped slightly ($5/ton) in December but finished 2012 approximately $10/ton higher than when the year began.


Disclaimer – Prices and market related information shown has been obtained by many sources across many commodity markets.  InStream has not verified the information beyond our sources. Information is based on assumptions and projections based on current market drivers. This information is provided as a service and InStream is not recommending action based on the market information provided and is not responsible for the direction of markets and/or results based on the data provided.


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