End of Month Load? You May Want to Wait.

February 22, 2023

Do you have a load of recycling ready for the end of the month?  It may be in your best interest to hold it for a bit. 

If your municipality markets their baled materials such as mixed paper and cardboard (also known in the industry as "fibers"), plastics, steel, and aluminum cans through NRRA, you may have noticed some fluctuation when it comes to pick up times, hauling fees, and pricing depending on the time of month that you request your baled material pickup.

For some, holding onto a recycling load any longer than absolutely necessary is more of a headache than it's worth - you may want it moved and an additional cost isn't an issue. For those who can wait, however, making the switch to sending loads in the beginning or middle of a month may make sense fiscally and logistically. Why? Because the last week-and-a-half of the month is the worst time of the month to request a pickup of most baled materials, especially fibers. 

Here are a couple of reasons why you may want to hold that end-of-month fibers load:  

Monthly Price Changes 

Prices for most recycling items change at the beginning of the month.  For example, all of NRRA’s fiber vendors base (or loosely base) their fiber pricing on the industry standard pricing set on the 5th of each month, by the Pulp and Paper Industry Pricing Index (PPI).  Because the market fluctuates, many vendors will not offer pricing during the last week or so of the month because they know that the market could change before they actually receive the material and therefore, do not want to be in the position of having over bid or under bid on NRRA member material. That means, if you are trying to move material at the very end or the very beginning of each month, the price you were banking on may have changed.

Once the PPI is released, NRRA vendor mills get swamped with material not only from NRRA Members but their other customers as well. Fiber mills then fill in the first couple of weeks and are unable to accept any more material at the end of the month since they’ve already reached their monthly quota.

Hauling Fees 

Ready for some insider knowledge?! Many large warehouses and retailers do the majority of their hauling - shipping and receiving inventory - at the end of the month.  Because demand for haulers is high across the entire trucking industry at the end of the month, hauling prices increase for everyone. The higher the freight costs, the less revenue a municipality will make on the material. While this additional cost isn't an issue for mills that have their own trucks, it does affect loads being sent through a third-party or on a back haul. 

These are just two major reasons why end of month loads can both be more costly and turn less revenue for your community. Though these conditions primarily apply to the fiber market, they often affect other baled material markets as well. We understand that many transfer stations do not have extra storage space and need to move loads as soon as they can, but end of month realities may mean we are not be able to move your load as fast as we like and if we do, it may still be more expensive.

What to do?

1. If you know you will have a load ready by the end of the month, call EARLIER in the month to get it scheduled. If we are able to lock in a pick-up date, we may be able to avoid end of month haul pricing increases.

2. Hold onto your load until after the 5th of the month. This way, pricing for the month has been set and you should be able to lock in a mid-month haul, again avoiding end of month increased haul fees. 

3. Have patience (we know, easier said than done!) If your municipality requests a pick-up at the end of the month, please know that it could be up to 3 weeks before we are able to move that particular load.  If you are requesting a quote for baled fibers during the last week of the month, please be aware that IF we are able to get any pricing from a vendor during that week, it will absolutely be subject to change once the PPI is released. 

Our logistics department does the very best it can to help our members get the best pricing for their material and also to move that material in the most efficient possible way. 

If you ever have any questions about moving your baled materials, please feel free to contact Stacey Morrison, Logistics and Administrative Manager.