Due to the continuous increase in global warming caused by the human induced emissions, it is evident that burning of oils and fossil fuels is escalating the change in climate, causing a major threat to the environment, and living beings. Plastic contributes to a large extent in diffusing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere thereby, altering the ozone layer, which is resulting in excessive heat, loss of cloud forests, melting of glaciers and upsurge in sea levels. So, what measures can be taken to reduce plastic pollution?
For many years, the global temperature of the planet was intact until new technologies stepped in, resulting in an enormous change in the environment. It is a high time that the recycling of plastic on large scale should be taken into consideration. As plastic is non-biodegradable, it provides a lot of opportunities for business as it can be both cost effective and environment friendly. Global plastic recycling market is expected to witness a healthy growth at a CAGR of 5.04% during the forecast years due to uprise in the demand for recycled plastic. Recovering plastic from scrap and waste and then converting it into useful products has been a major driver for many commercial industries as it is both environmentally and economically effective. Recycled plastic can be transformed into a wide range of products like carrier bags, watering cans, wheel arch liners, car bumpers, damp proof membranes, construction materials, reusable crates, bins, composite pit, food trays, water bottles and different clothing fabrics providing a large scope for plastic industries to make a good fortune. The global plastic recycling market is driven by increasing inclination towards recycled plastics over virgin plastics because of the pollution caused by the plastics when disposed in oceans or other water bodies. In addition to this, energy saved during the production of recycled plastics is positively impacting the growth of the market. Furthermore, ongoing research activities in order to find an effective method of recycling plastic waste all around the world is expected to bolster the growth of market over the next few years. In terms of end-use industry, the plastic recycling industry is categorized into packaging, building & construction, textile, automotive, electrical & electronics and others. Out of which, the packaging industry held the largest market share among all the end-use industries in the global market for plastic recycling. Asia Pacific and North America have emerged to be the largest generators and recyclers of plastic waste. Dominance of Asia Pacific region can be attributed to the chemical and mechanical industry. The Initiative of limiting the use of plastic through financial disincentives has shown results and brought drastic changes in consumer behaviour. China, Japan and India, accounted for over one-fourth of total plastic waste recycled worldwide in previous years.
Some highly used different types of plastics are:
1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
PET is a colorless, lightweight and strong plastic. It is a widely used plastic and is easily available in the market in the form of bottles, polyester clothes, medicines and jars. According to the Food and Drug Administration, PET is safe and can be easily recycled. Asia Pacific region holds the maximum share in production of PET worldwide which is anticipated to surge the market globally in upcoming years.
2. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Out of all the Polyethylenes, HDPE is classified as the most versatile plastic available with numerous applications. Being strong in nature, qualifies HDPE to be compatible for building materials, large containers and piping. Rise in the demand of recycled plastic in construction sector is a major drive boosting the plastic recycling market in China.
3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or Vinyl)
PVC comes under the third most multifaceted plastics due to its hard and inflexible nature. It is widely used in medical, construction and electrical industries and its property of being resistant to germs makes it highly useful for the medical industry. Demand of PVC in the pipelines industry is also driving the plastic recycling market worldwide.
4. Polypropylene (PP)
PP is one of the heavy-duty and long-lasting plastics. It can resist high temperature, which makes it ideal for many applications, specifically in food and beverage industries. It is a strong plastic and is less flexible and thus, retains its shape after some time. DVDs, hot food containers, storage boxes are made up of Polypropylene (PP). The plastic recycling market in Spain is expected to grow at an impressive rate on account of growing awareness among the population pertaining to plastic waste disposal.
5. Polystyrene (PS)
PS, also known as Styrofoam, is an eco-friendly plastic which is transparent and brittle in nature. Usually, PS is used for a short term and can be potentially dangerous for humans as it can release neurotoxins which can hamper the nervous system. PS is cost effective and is made safe for the market use and is used for making cutleries, food containers, building insulations, etc. Canada is expected to witness a rise in the PS industry in the upcoming years.
What is the current market potential of the global plastic recycling?
The plastic recycling market is highly fragmented with more than 25000 players operating globally in the market. Asia Pacific market is estimated to grow at a strong rate during the forecast period as the region has become a manufacturing hub for chemical & petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, food processing, medical and electronics equipment. Dominance of Asia-Pacific in global plastic recycling market can be attributed to growing awareness of recovery of main polymers through mechanical and chemical recycling.
What is causing a Major drive in the global plastic recycling market?
The global plastic recycling market is driven by increasing inclination towards recycled plastic over virgin plastic because of water pollution caused by the plastics when disposed in oceans or other water bodies. Ongoing research activities in order to find an effective method of recycling plastic waste all around the world is expected to bolster the growth of market over the next few years. Governments are increasingly mandating that plastic bottles must be made from at least 25% recycled plastic by 2025 and 30% by 2030. The consistently growing demand for recycled plastic products on account of expanding packaging industry across the globe is spurring demand for plastic recycling. Increasing number of construction and infrastructure projects across the globe is also boosting the demand for polymers in a wide range of applications such as an window glass, etc.
Which region holds the highest share in the global plastic recycling market?
APAC region holds the maximum share of the global plastic recycling market. In 2019, China plastics industry accounted for 26% share in global production of plastics. For many years, China received the bulk of scrap plastic from various countries such as United States, Germany, Japan, Australia, etc., processing much of it into a higher quality material that could be used by manufacturers. In 2018, China imposed ban on imports of plastic waste and closed its doors to almost all foreign plastic waste, as well as many other recyclables, to protect the local environment and air quality and to further boost its domestic plastic recycling market.
What is the current market landscape for the global plastic recycling?
The key players are considering the rise in demand for plastic recycling by various industries to be the major driving factor for the market in the forecast period. The major companies are focusing on innovation and research & development (R&D) to create durable and better products and attain a competitive edge over the other big players.
What are the challenges faced by the global plastic recycling market?
Due to onset of COVID-19, disruptions in business cycles are bound to impact the demand across all core industries, globally. Severity of pandemic is compounded by the fact that many industries are operating at reduced capacity, consequently lowering the number of employees as well. The reduced number of workers will create a challenge for industrial plastic product manufacturers to fulfill the demand from end user industries. The ban on import of plastic waste for treatment and reprocessing in China has caused a huge crisis among major exporting countries. Moreover, with declining and shrinking plastic waste exporting market, the governments of various nations in Europe and Asia are focusing on recycling plastic and producing re-usable plastic products.
Some of the major companies in the global plastic recycling market include Covanta Energy Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd., SUEZ NWS limited, The shakti Plastic Industries, Eco Wise Waste Management Pvt Ltd, Cleanaway Melbourne, Sapporo Plastic Recycle KK, DH Recycling Ltd, Veolia Indonesia, IAV Global, Poly Pipe Recyclers, Polystar Machinery Co Ltd.
Global Plastic Recycling Market is expected to witness a healthy growth during the forecast years due to rise in the demand for recycled plastic for various applications and manufacturing of recycled products such as carrier bags, watering cans, damp proof membranes, construction materials, reusable crates, bins, composite pit, food trays, water bottles. The disruption in overall import and export of plastic waste due to COVID-19 across several countries is expected to lead to decline in the total recycled plastic waste in 2020. Over the past few years, it has been observed that more and more companies are taking a pledge towards the reduction of plastic waste and shifting to 100% recyclable packaging. This wave of enthusiasm and awareness is augmenting demand for plastic recycling, globally, and encouraging the companies to establish plastic recycling facilities.