Miami County Recycles

How much are my recyclables worth?

You may remember collecting pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House, or holding paper drives for school fundraising. It makes some of our residents wonder: how valuable are the recyclables I'm placing in the green bin or driving to the Recycling Center? 

Think back to economics class: recyclable materials are commodities, just like gold, oil or wheat. The value of recyclable material fluctuates due to demand, which can be affected by manufacturing practices and the cost of virgin materials. For example, the value of plastics tend to drop when crude oil - the base material from which plastic is made - goes down in price. The value of cardboard rises during economic booms, as manufacturers need to ship more products in cardboard packaging. 

The Miami County Recycling Center sells some materials to local scrapyards and brokers. Proceeds from commodity sales, combined with funding allocated by the Miami County Transfer Station, cover hauling and staffing costs for the Recycling Center. The following table reflects commodity sales by the Miami County Recycling Center from January-August 2017. Hauling and labor costs are not reflected.

Average Commodity Prices by Year







$0.44 / lb

$0.39 / lb

$0.52 / lb

  About 1.5 cents per pop can


$67.50 / ton

$87.98 / ton

$158.34 / ton

  About 0.5 cents per shoe box


$67.52 /ton

$76.67 /ton

$127.91 / ton

  About 1 cents per tin can


$0 / ton

$0 / ton

$15.00 / ton

  About 3 cents per 10 Coke bottles

Plastic and Comingled Recyclables

$0 / ton

$0 /ton

$0 / ton



Posted on Aug 29, 2017 by Miami County Recycles