Plastic industry expected to grow by 4.9% by 2026
Plastic isn’t going away any time soon. According to Globe News Wire, the plastic industry is expected to reach a market size of USD 6.47 billion by 2026 – a compound annual growth rate of 4.9%.
Despite growing awareness of the environmental dangers and health dangers associated with plastics, the demand for synthetic polymers is still high. This could be because, when it comes to some applications, there are simply no non-plastic substitutes that are able to match the qualities of plastic. In other cases, suppliers may be simply unwilling to make the changes due to the cost and money associated with finding alternatives.
Fortunately, plastic is evolving for the better – and so a growth in this sector might not actually be bad news for climate and health activists. While plastic may have garnered a negative reputation in recent years, huge steps are being made to make plastic safer and more eco-friendly. It’s these more new improved plastics that are thought to be the major source of growth.
Recycled plastics for instance are expected to see a huge growth. Plastics Today has projected a CAGR at 6.8% through 2025. There is also a lot of research being made into ‘bioplastics’ – synthetic materials that don’t use chemicals but rely solely on a mixture of organic materials. This industry could rise in value by as much as 16.2% by 2026.
Manufacturers are also tackling the health problems caused by toxic VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) released by certain plastics. In fact, there are companies such as LINE-X that have been producing polyurea coatings that are practically VOC-free. With more plastics manufacturers going down this route, the health dangers associated with VOCs – including cancer and respiratory problems – could no longer be a threat associated with plastics.
There are still many challenges that plastics companies face. Governments are likely to introduce more taxes and laws in the future that could affect the trade of plastic (the EU has already announced many changes to the way in which plastic will be taxed). However, there are unlikely to be too many major restrictions any time soon. It will all depend on how willing and able the plastic industry is to adapt.
Manufacturers of disposable plastics and packaging are likely to be the companies that will not benefit from the plastic boom in upcoming years. Stefan Bock, CEO of ReduPET, claims that this is the big area where things have to change: ‘Unnecessary, resource-guzzling products must disappear from the market and the focus must be on guiding the material flows to after use and recycling.’
Suppliers, waste management companies and consumers will have an equal part to play when it comes to reducing unnecessary plastic waste in the future – and hence stopping those that profit off of these types of plastics. By making ethical choices to not buy non-recyclable plastics and by making sure that recyclable plastics are recycled, a more sustainable plastic industry will be achieved.