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Valued at $41,238.8 million in 2018, the global plastic recycling market is projected to surpass $64,139.7 million by 2024, witnessing a CAGR of 8.6% between 2019 and 2024. Among all regions, Europe is expected to witness the fastest growth in the industry during the forecast period. Initiatives by European governments, aimed at the development of domestic recycling facilities and resurging local manufacturing, and environment sustainability targets built around integrating recycled products across the packaging supply chain are expected to be the propelling factors for the region’s plastic recycling market progress.
Dynamics of Plastic Recycling Market
In December 2017, the Chinese government imposed a blanket ban on the import of 24 kinds of waste materials. The ban covers non-industrial plastic waste, for which China used to account for a dominant share of imports and subsequent processing. This has affected an extremely high volume of nearly 5.1 million metric tons of plastic waste. This legislation by China, aimed at tackling the waste volume, has upended the dynamics of trade in the global plastic recycling market.
The global uptick in industrialization and commercialization has increased the consumption of plastics, which has led to high production volumes of plastic waste. In the light of the alarming land, air, and marine pollution, several stakeholders, including governments, manufacturers, and customers, are increasingly changing their plastic consumption patterns, overhauling traditional manufacturing lines to create low amounts of plastic waste, recycling the waste, and making products that are easily processable, post use. This multi-level stakeholder partnership, which has led to an heightened awareness and increased domestic recycling across the European and North American countries, is expected to contribute to the growth of the global plastic recycling market in the future.
The need for improved recycling technologies to streamline the plastic recycling value chain has been identified as a key interest area by the players operating or willing to enter the plastic recycling market. The increasing investments in R&D activities are indicating the industry’s high commercial potential and room for possible development. In due course, these investments are likely to assist in the development of novel waste processing technologies, thereby offering new opportunities for the market growth.
Plastic Recycling Market Segmentation Analysis
On the basis of source, the packaging category accounted for the largest volume share, of over 78.0%, in the plastic recycling market in 2018. The category is projected to demonstrate a CAGR of 9.1% during the forecast period. Packaging plastics account for high-volume recycling, owing to their short-use lifecycle and significant waste generation volumes. Government policies and substantiality targets aimed at integrating the recycling process into the packaging industry are further expected to assist in the market growth in the forthcoming period.
The food and beverage industry employs a wide array of plastics, such as PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP, and PS, for packaging, storage, ease of transportation, preservation, maintaining the aesthetic appeal of processed foods and beverages, including perishable items. Consumers dispose these plastics after use, which creates a high-volume waste, which is used as feedstock for the plastic recycling industry. Furthermore, in future, the increasing number of policies and initiatives regarding plastic waste, such as eco-modulation of packaging fees and improvements in packaging design to improve recyclability, are expected to assist the market to ramp up its recycling volume.
The recycling of polyethylene (PE)-based materials is expected to witness the fastest growth during the 2019–2024 period. The high-volume demand for the virgin material, coupled with its short lifecycle and relative ease of recycling of the waste produced, results in the largest share of the market category, and these factors are expected to continue contributing in its largest share during the forecast period.
Geographical Analysis of Plastic Recycling Market
The APAC plastic recycling market has witnessed a major transition in recent years. Since the ban on the import of 24 types of non-industrial plastic waste by China in 2017, an exponential increase in the imports of waste plastics to South Asian countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Thailand, and Vietnam, has been noticed. This has been mirrored by the shifting of a large number of China-based manufacturers to these locations and a congruent ramp up of the plastic processing capacities in these countries.
The APAC plastic recycling market has a high growth potential and is expected to demonstrate a CAGR of 8.9%, in terms of volume, during the forecast period. This growth is attributed to the development of a significant number of small-scale processing plants in the region. Furthermore, in the long run, the market is expected to recover from the instability caused by the ban, with South Asian countries taking the larger share in the market, owing to the presence of low-cost labor and lenient environmental norms and regulations. However, certain factors, such as the proposed laws and regulations for lowering the imports of plastic waste by these countries, are expected to moderately ill-affect the market growth.
Competitive Landscape of Plastic Recycling Market
The plastic recycling market is characterized by the presence of a large number of low-capacity players across several locations around the world. Some of the companies operating in the market are MBA Polymers Inc., Phoenix Technologies International LLC, Vikoz Enterprises Inc., Terracycle, KW Plastics, DS Smith PLC, PETCO, CarbonLITE Industries, Waste Connections Inc., and Custom Polymers Inc.
Recent Strategic Developments of Major Plastic Recycling Market Players
Key Questions Addressed/Answered in the Report