Published: Sep, 2018

The global plastic recycling market was valued at US$ 34.80 Bn in 2017 and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 6.8% from 2018 to 2026, according to a new report published by Transparency Market Research (TMR) titled ‘Plastic Recycling Market: Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2018–2026.’ The global plastic recycling market is driven by the rise in demand for recycled plastic in the packaging industry. Asia Pacific accounts for major share of the global plastic recycling market.


Ban on Landfills in Developed Countries to Boost Market

Plastic recycling is a mechanical and/or chemical process of recovering plastic waste or scrap discarded during the production of plastic products (pre-consumer plastic waste) or after the use of these products by consumers (post-consumer plastic waste). Plastic recycling is not only economical, but also helps decrease carbon emission. Developed countries, especially those in Europe, have imposed landfill bans on plastic waste in order to recover and recycle plastic waste. In 2016, 10 countries in the European Union banned the dumping of plastic waste in landfills. These countries recorded significant rise in the plastic recycling rate after the imposition of the ban. The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) expects the ban on plastic dumping in landfills to be imposed across the EU by 2020.

Rise in Awareness about Environmental Protection to Offer Attractive Growth Opportunities

Governments and several private organizations are developing extensive programs to channel plastic wastes into collection streams in order to prevent trash from seeping into oceans. These organizations are also promoting recycling to protect the environment from landfill hazards. Techniques such as curbside recycling and drop-off recycling; and buy-back and deposit/refund centers are helping organizations collect the maximum amount of trash for recycling. Plastic banks exchange plastic trash for other products, cash, or services to prevent littering.

Packaging Industry to Offer Attractive Growth Opportunities

In terms of volume and value, the packaging application segment held major share of the plastic recycling market in 2017. It was followed by the construction segment; products such as plastic lumber, street furniture, roof and floor tiles, playground equipment, and windows and doors are largely used in the construction segment. Increase in consumption of plastic, especially in the packaging application, and rise in need to dispose of the generated plastic waste in eco-friendly and responsible manner are augmenting the plastic recycling market. PET is one of the highly recycled plastics in the world. Most countries have developed dedicated programs and facilities to collect PET bottles. Most major companies also recycle PET beverage bottles to manufacture beverage bottles. Packaging is carried out for physical protection, barrier protection, containment, and marketing of goods. Plastic packaging is usually carried out in two forms: rigid packaging and flexible packaging. Rigid packaging usually includes containers, rigid bottles, and boxes, while flexible packaging comprises plastics wraps, carrier bags, sachets, packets, and covers. Packaging is also a major end-user industry of recycled plastics.

Volatility in Prices of Virgin Plastics to Hamper Plastic Recycling Market

Changes in prices of oil and gas directly affect the cost of plastic manufacturing. The recent decline in oil and gas prices adversely affected the cost of raw materials used for the production of virgin plastic. This, in turn, significantly hampered the prices of virgin polymer across the globe. Thus, demand for recycled plastic decreased sharply, as the prices of virgin plastic were low. However, prices of virgin plastic are estimated to increase during the forecast period. This, in turn, is anticipated to boost the demand for recycled plastic.

Asia Pacific Dominates Global Plastic Recycling Market

In terms of region, Asia Pacific accounted for significant share of 74.0% of the global plastic recycling market in 2017. Developed countries in Europe and North America export plastic scrap to Asia, especially Southeast Asia, for recycling, due to the lack of stringent government regulations and lenient landfill laws in the region. Recently, China announced a permanent ban on import of recycled plastic. This can be ascribed to the imposition of policies related to environment protection. However, the plastic recycling market in Europe is projected to expand at a rapid pace (8.8% in terms of volume) during the forecast period. Several countries in Europe have imposed a ban on dumping recyclable plastic waste in landfills. This has significantly increased the plastic recycling rate in these countries. The plastic recycling market in North America offers significant potential, as just 8% to 9% of the total plastic waste is currently recycled in the region.

High Degree of Competition among Established Players

Large numbers of small- and large-scale manufacturers operate in the global plastic recycling market. Key players profiled in the report are Kuusakoski, B&B Plastics Inc., CarbonLite Industries LLC, Custom Polymers Inc., Dart Container Corporation, Fresh-Pak Corp, Novolex, KW Plastics, MBA Polymers UK Ltd., PLASgran Ltd., Plastipak Holdings, Inc., WM Recycle America LLC, and Wellpine Plastic. The global plastic recycling market is highly competitive with large number of recyclers. Many plastic recyclers operate in India and China; most of these are small and medium scale family-owned businesses.

Plastic Recycling Market, by Material

  • Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
  • Polystyrene (PS)
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  • Others (ABS, Nylon, Polycarbonate, etc.)

Plastic Recycling Market, by Application

  • Packaging
  • Automotive
  • Construction
  • Textile
  • Others (Industrial, Consumer Goods, etc.)

Plastic Recycling Market, by Region

  • North America
    • U.S.
    • Canada
  • Europe
    • Germany
    • France
    • Italy
    • U.K.
    • Spain
    • Russia & CIS
    • Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific
    • China
    • India
    • Japan
    • ASEAN
    • Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa
    • GCC
    • South Africa
    • Rest of Middle East & Africa
  • Latin America
    • Brazil
    • Mexico
    • Rest of Latin America

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