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Welcome to The Plastics Exchange questions and answers section.
Clicking on a question below will display the answer.
Should your question not be listed below, please ask us in the space provided below or call Member Services at 1.312.202.0002.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

+What is The Plastics Exchange?

The Plastics Exchange is the spot market for trading commodity grade resins and a trusted source of market intelligence.

+What is the Spot Market?

It is the stream of discretionary resin offers available for prompt shipment. Generally generic prime and offgrade railcars and positioned inventory.

+How much resin is generally available?

We normally see about 10-25 million lbs of spot resin each week, but occasionally, in very loose markets, have had more than 50 million lbs offered on the spot floor.

+Who supplies The Plastics Exchange?

The Plastics Exchange has direct supply from some producers and trading relationship with most major distributors and traders, canvassing the industry bringing supply from pretty much all major producers, some more than others. All offers are kept anonymous, even after the trade.

+How do you keep the trading anonymous?

Since we handle credit and logistics, there is no need to ever disclose the buyer and the seller to each other. This feature allows for even competitors to trade together - and nobody ever needs to know about it!

+How much resin is traded on The Plastics Exchange?

We see anywhere between 10 and 40 million lbs per week, it depends on market conditions. Sometimes there are a lot of Generic Prime railcars others times more offgrade. Sometimes producers are selling lots of railcars, other times it is just distributors who are looking to move their inventory in bulk or packages.

+Do you have salesmen?

Not the traditional type that sell Branded Prime and spend the week entertaining customers. We have traders that guide the spot resin flow, and match transactions through the website, by email and telephone.

+What kinds of resin are traded on The Plastics Exchange?

We trade commodity grade Polyethylene, Polypropylene and Polystyrene, both Generic Prime and offgrade in railcars and truckloads (bulk or packaged).

+Can I buy just 10K lbs at a time?

Not from us, but thank you. Your traditional distributor is best suited to supply your needs. We would be happy to make a referral.

+Can I buy a Specific Brand from The Plastics Exchange?

We do not sell branded prime, but can generally get you a Generic Prime substitute to fit your needs. If you do require a specific brand, you need to maintain your current supply channel, be it though a Distributor or Producer direct.

+What is Generic Prime?

Generic Prime is the same pellet as branded prime, but without the producer certification. It is surplus Prime resin that producers wish to sell, but quietly without disrupting their current sales channels.

+What is Pencil Prime?

AKA Downgraded prime, or Prime No Certs. This is resin Prime quality that does not come with producer certs. Not for ultra critical applications, but more for commodity applications that require prime resin quality at a discounted price and do not need a specific brand.

+What kind of Certs does The Plastics Exchange provide?

The Plastics Exchange will certify that the resin sold as Generic Prime meets the producers prime specification.

+What is offgrade or widespec resin?

Resin that does not meet the producer’s prime specification is sold as widespec or offgrade. Quality variations with Melt Flow, Density, Izod, Color etc.

+Do you certify offgrade?

The Plastics Exchange will also certify that offgrade resin will be delivered substantially as represented. However, there are inherent risks in offgrade resin as producers often provide less quality information with such offerings.

+What if I have a problem with the resin purchased on The Plastics Exchange?

If the resin, when delivered, was proven to be not as represented, we will take it back at its current location. In addition, The Plastics Exchange reserves the right (but is not obligated) to replace the resin that was deemed mis-represented. We are very diligent to qualify only reliable suppliers to The Plastics Exchange, but even with players of the utmost integrity, unintended problems can arise.

+Is The Plastics Exchange a futures market?

No, every offer on The Plastics Exchange is for an actual lot of physically delivered resin. Plastics Futures are however (thinly) traded at the London Metals Exchange.

+How do I become a member of The Plastics Exchange?

Registration is free and easy - you can do it online. All offers are subject to credit approval, credit references can be submitted online or by fax or email.

+How do I offer resin on The Plastics Exchange?

You will have to talk to us first before gaining selling status, we are very careful about maintaining the integrity of our market and accuracy of offers.

+Is there a cost to join?

No, The Plastics Exchange offers free access to our Daily Plastics News, Historic Price Charts, Monthly Market Updates and a steady flow of offers.

+How are railcar deliveries handled?

Railcars can be delivered to a rail siding or terminal. There can sometimes be an up-charge for deliveries made to the West Coast. Prompt return of the empty railcar is a condition of supply, returns over 90 days from placement are subject to demurrage charges.

+Can I have my railcar purchases delivered in Bulk Trucks?

Certainly, we can ship the railcars it to a terminal and arrange the 4 bulk truck deliveries to your plant. We will add the cost of the deliveries into the resin price.

+Can I buy packaged truckloads of resin.

The Plastics Exchange handles deliveries of Full Truckloads of standard Gaylords or 25kg bags on pallets.

+What are your payment terms?

We offer 30-day terms to qualified buyers. Cash discounts are available.

+How does The Plastics Exchange pay suppliers?

We pay by wire transfer on or before day 30. We will gladly take a cash discount if offered. Our bank references are available.

+Can I receive resin offers by email?

Absolutely, we believe this is most effective method, when registering select the resin(s) that you wish to monitor. Select, railcars, and/or truckloads, and then select the resin quality desired - Prime and/or offgrade. Select if you want your filtered resin offers emailed daily or weekly. Our system does the rest.

+How long are offers live on the website?

All offers are for actual lots intended for spot delivery. Offers are normally offered online for 1 week, but sometimes just a day. Sometimes resin is re-offered if not sold.

All offers are subject to prior sale. Offers known to be have been sold are removed from the Trading floor. Sometimes offers are sold away elsewhere and we were not aware. If so, we will give best efforts to find a replacement lot, but will not be held to it.

+Do you trade regrind or scrap?

No, sorry not now, but will probably do so in the future.

+Do you trade engineering grades?

No, sorry not now, but probably will trade some in the future (Like PET, PVC, ABS, some Nylons).

+What is your contract market?

These are the prices, updated daily, at which The Plastics Exchange would buy or sell a rail car of generic prime resin.

+How are your chart values determined?

For the daily charts, we capture the asking price at the close of each day. The weekly charts use the Friday close, and the monthly charts capture each end of the month quote.

+Is Freight included in your asking price?

Please note the specific offer. If it says delivered, it is priced delivered - as most railcars are. If it says FOB a certain location, freight will be extra – but just use our handy-dandy freight calculator to obtain a delivered cost.

+How can we benefit from doing business with The Plastics Exchange?

Resin Processor: Through our network of trading partners, we can help you find the most cost effective resin appropriate to your needs.

In a loosely supplied and falling market, we generally see spot offers below your current pricing and can help you save money on your resin purchases.

In a tightly supplied and rising market, we can search into our trading partners’ inventories and locate the resin you need (although you might pay up for it).


Distributor / reseller We can help add to your buying power when approaching your producers seeking price breaks for multiple railcar orders.

In a loosely supplied and falling market, we can help you liquidate your inventory. We can also search our trading partners’ inventories (your competitors) for a single load or two, so you do not have to buy a whole railcar to serve your customer’s less than railcar order. We can also present you with special spot opportunities from other producers outside your direct supply, because not all producers are equally pressured to move resin at discounts.

In a tightly supplied and rising market, we can search into our trading partners’ (your competitors) inventories and locate the resin your customer needs. We can also find resin from producers outside your normal supply channel. If you have forecasted resin with your producers, above and beyond your customer needs, we can likely sell it to other trading partners needing the resin at a premium price.


Resin Producer: Since we have trading relationships with most every major distributor / reseller, use The Plastics Exchange as your wholesaler to the wholesalers. We can quickly move your surplus resin Generically and Anonymously to dealers either in or out of your normal sales channel. By moving your surplus as real generic, you are better able to maintain your Branded Prime premiums.

In a loosely supplied and falling market we can help you liquidate surplus inventories anonymously and generically without impacting your current sales. Do you have 25-50 railcars to move? Let us bury the resin to our offshore trading partners!

In a tightly supplied and rising market, we can often get you a premium for your resin from customers in need of spot resin. We have also been successful locating resin that producers have needed to fulfill sales opportunities.

And in a normal and stable market…

…is there ever such a thing?!?!

+How to Buy (Sell) resin through The Plastics Exchange?

Buyer

1) Register on our Web Site providing the necessary data to help our system better select the offers to send you.
2) Review Offers in the Spot Floor that meet your needs.
3) Contact us to buy either electronically or by phone.

Additionally, we can e-mail you offers regularly, matching the criteria you indicated at registration.

Seller

1) Register on our Web Site providing the necessary data to help us better understand your profile.
2) Enter your Offers into the Spot Floor or contact the brokers at our Trading Desk in Chicago, then we’ll enter the offers for you.
3) Buyers will see the product in the Spot Floor & send a request to buy, we will confirm the details with you and a trade is made.

+What are the hours of The Plastics Exchange?

The Exchange is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Plastics Exchange Member Services, Logistics and Credit are open on normal business days from Monday - Friday, between 7:00AM and 7:00PM CST.

+Do you know that, if separated, your name spells "The Plastic Sex Change"?

Yup.
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