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Growing awareness to curb the pollution caused by plastic disposal is one of the factors that drives the growth of the recycled plastics market. (Photo: UN Environment)
Growing awareness to curb the pollution caused by plastic disposal is one of the factors that drives the growth of the recycled plastics market. (Photo: UN Environment)

The global recycled plastics market was estimated at US$36.93 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach US$50.36 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 6.4% between 2017 and 2022, according to a study by MarketsandMarkets.

The market is witnessing growth due to the growing preference for recycled plastics over virgin plastics as a result of severe pollution caused by the disposal of used plastics in oceans and the scarcity of landfill areas in many countries.

Factors such as the increasing use of recycled plastics in many new applications in the packaging, automotive, and electrical & electronics industries and many favorable initiatives by governments in many countries promoting the use of recycled plastics offer lucrative opportunities for the growth of the recycled plastics market.

High cost of recycled plastics and stringent competition from virgin plastics in terms of performance are the major factors restraining the growth of the market.

The proposed ban by China on import of certain waste plastic scraps and irregular collection of waste plastics for its reprocessing are some of the factors challenging the growth of the recycled plastics market globally.

Packaging to be the fastest-growing end-use industry

Packaging is estimated to be the fastest-growing end-use industry segment of the recycled plastics market during the forecast period.

This growth is attributed to the increasing use of recycled plastics in food and beverage packaging, as technological advancements have made recycled resins suitable for food applications, which was not the case until a few years earlier.

PET: The fastest-growing type segment

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is estimated to be the fastest-growing type segment of the recycled plastics market during the forecast period.

PET segment is expected to have the highest growth as PET-based plastics are easy to recycle, and PET bottles are the most easily sorted and collected source of used plastics.

North America to record the fastest growth

The North America region is estimated to be the fastest-growing market for recycled plastics during the forecast period. The growth of the recycled plastics market in North America is growing due to the several initiatives taken in the region to increase the use of recycled plastics.

Many companies such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, Walmart, Target Corp., Procter & Gamble Co., Ecover, Evian, L’Oréal, Mars, M&S, PepsiCo, Campbell Soup, Amcor Werner & Mertz, and Keurig Green Mountain Inc. have pledged to the Association of Plastics Recyclers (US) to increase the use of recycled plastics in their products.

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