Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wholesale pricing added to Composting News market survey

Since Composting News was launched in 1992, we have accumulated prices for compost in a variety of market regions throughout the U.S., using a variety of methods to obtain price information. Recently, several producers suggested that our price quotations should include producers’ wholesale prices along with the retail prices at their facilities.

In an attempt to collect wholesale price information, we revised our anonymous online survey (www.recycle.cc/formcompostpricesurvey.htm) and asked respondents by email to report wholesale prices for several common products along with their retail prices. We received the usual good number of responses from around the country reporting pricing for compost made from yard waste and food residuals, along with shredded wood mulch and colored mulch.

The response level was lower for biosolids compost. We received only two responses that provided wholesale prices for composted cow manure and zero data for wholesale prices for composted chicken manure.

The wholesale price data have been added to the table that is always published on page 6 of Composting News.

We will continue to survey the market on a monthly basis with an emphasis on getting more participation in providing wholesale pricing. Your participation is welcome, whether you complete the anonymous web survey, or simply call or email (ken@recycle.cc) to share prices and market insights. We are also interested in hearing how market pricing and reporting can be improved to benefit your businesses.

Since 1990, our company also has published The Paper Stock Report, a publication that tracks transaction prices in the recovered paper industry.

Wastepaper prices are somewhat easier to track. The paper recycling industry has specifically-defined grade categories, such as Old Corrugated Containers, Old Newspaper and Sorted Office Paper, which are accepted globally.

Compost is a much different product from scrap paper. Producers have their own recipes based on locally available feedstocks and demand for specific end uses.
Privately owned facilities that produce high quality compost often are in competition with public facilities that give away their products.

Compilation of data that offers an apple-to-apples comparison of compost prices from region to region and from product to product is a larger challenge than in the other market we serve. That’s one reason why your input is so valuable.

Following are some observations from this month’s pricing surveys.
* Some respondents provided prices ranges for their products, for both retail and wholesale prices. Those prices were entered as both a low price and a high price for their respective categories.
* In Missouri, one producer provided a retail price of $27.95 per yard for a compost product that evidently contained yard waste and food waste. The wholesale price is $19.50 per yard – a 30 percent reduction.  The same producer reported a retail price of $34.95 for shredded wood mulch, with a wholesale price of $24.95, a 29 percent markdown. For colored mulch, the retail price is $31.95, while the wholesale price is $17.50, a 45 percent reduction. Another Missouri producer offers a smaller discount for wholesale orders. The company reported a retail price ranging from $25 to $35 per yard for its compost product, with a wholesale price ranging between $22 to $30 per yard, with margins apparently between 12 and 14 percent. Margins for wood mulch, colored and natural, came in between 10 and 20 percent.
* In Texas. A producer reported a retail price of $15 a yard for compost, and a wholesale price of $8.50 to $9.00 a yard, a discount of 40 to 43 percent.
* A large percentage of respondents came from the Mid-Atlantic East Coast, or locations surrounding the Chesapeake Bay, from Baltimore down through the Norfolk, Va. area. Producers in those areas generally reported a fairly consistent discount of around 50 percent on their wholesale prices of compost made from yard waste and food waste compared to their retail price. Yard waste compost averaged about $24 per yard; $12 per yard wholesale.

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