Initiatives to Reduce Plastic Waste Leads to Growth in Global Plastic Recycling Market

Wide-spread environmental concerns about plastic waste are leading to increased demand for the plastic recycling (PR) market that has various uses for plastic waste. At the same time, and in line with this growing need, an increased number of industries that produce plastic products have committed to reducing their use of virgin plastic and ensuring that the plastic they do produce is recyclable, reusable, or compostable.

Growth of the Plastic Recycling Market

Valued at around $43.73 billion in 2018, research indicates that the plastic recycling market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6% in revenue and 8.8% in volume by 2027. Findings are that rising environmental concerns will be the primary driving force along with the concerted global effort towards effective waste management and sustainability. Another is the growing awareness of the need for recycling plastic and the anticipated market growth of the PR market.

A new report released by Research and Markets in February 2020 gives a market snapshot in its executive summary and discusses the plastic recycling market by material type, source, application, and geography. Titled Global Plastic Recycling Market Size, Market Share, Application Analysis, Regional Outlook, Growth Trends, Key Players, Competitive Strategies and Forecasts, 2019 to 2027, it explores the roles of the many global and regional participants in the PR market and analyses anticipated acquisitions, partnerships, and collaborations. These, the report states, are likely to be the major strategies market players will follow in an endeavor to expand their geographic presence and market share.

An older report published mid-2018 gave a slightly lower CAGR for the period 2018 to 2023 of 4.3%. This report, Global Plastic Waste Management Market 2018 by Manufacturers, Regions, Type and Application, Forecast to 2023 stated that it would grow from an estimated $27,1000 in 2017 to $34,900 in 2023.

Global Focus

When research for the new report was carried out during 2018, the Asia-Pacific region including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and India, had the highest market share in plastic recycling. This was attributed to the fact that the region has the largest share in the generation of plastic waste and is also the biggest plastic waste importer.

However, Europe was pinpointed as a region poised to become the fastest-growing in the PR market due to increasing government initiatives and the improvement of recycling facilities in this part of the world.

While the report covers at least 16 companies involved in plastic recycling globally, the Hungarian MOL Group has been highlighted as a result of its acquisition of Aurora, a German recycled plastic compounder company. MOL is a well-established supplier of virgin polymers and was motivated by its Enter Tomorrow 2030 strategy that aims to move its business from a traditional fuel-based model to a higher value-added petrochemical product portfolio. More specifically, MOL intends to strengthen its position as a supplier in the sustainable plastic compounding segment of the automotive industry.

The older report focused on plastic waste management not only in the Asia-Pacific region but also in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Use of Recycled Plastic

In terms of plastic materials, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) had the biggest market share in 2018. The reason given for this was a rapid surge in demand for PET and HDPE for the manufacturing of packaging. Hopefully, this won’t increase the production of PET and HDPE, but will rather help to get rid of waste.

As the CEO of Unilever, Alan Jope, said in a press statement late 2019: “Plastic has its place, but that place is not in the environment.” He was announcing Unilever’s commitment to halve its use of virgin plastic, reduce its use of plastic packaging, and dramatically step up its use of recycled plastic by 2025. They would also help to collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells – which will amount to about 600,000 tonnes per year, he said.

plastic-wastes

 

Additionally, technological advances in the PR industry have led to other less expected uses including the manufacture of denim clothing.

Realizing the environmental impact production of denim clothing has, Levi Strauss & Co. has taken bold steps to reduce its use of water and chemicals in cotton and cotton-clothing production, and about a decade ago, the company launched its much more sustainable Water<Less range of jeans. In 2013, Levi’s used dumped plastic bottles and food trays to make 300,000 jeans and trucker jackets for its spring collection. Of course, not the entire product was made from plastic, but it was guaranteed that at least 20% came from recycled plastic content.

Many other items are also made from recycled plastic, some with more plastic content than others. They include bags, rugs and mats, blankets, bottles, planters, dog collars, shoes, decking, fencing, and outdoor furniture.

The Future of Plastic

While many people talk about plastic as a material that should be eradicated, it does have remarkable uses as Alan Jope implies. But there is a dire need to change our thinking. The irony is that when recycled plastic was invented it was used to try and solve environmental problems like reducing the hunting of elephants for ivory and to provide protective sheaths for electrical wiring.

There is undoubtedly too much virgin plastic being produced worldwide and during the process, there are too many other natural resources being depleted. Added to this, too many consumers have no knowledge or concern about the use and disposal of plastic products. They simply don’t care!

We, as a global nation, need to focus more on the reuse, recycling, and remanufacture of plastic, which is exactly what plastic recycling companies can do so successfully.

Ultimately, we need to eradicate plastic waste by making it useful, and there is no doubt that the mechanical engineering sector is well positioned to find solutions.

How to Beat Plastic Pollution – Guide to Recycle Plastic for Further Usage

According to GenFollower, around 8.3 billion metric tons (9.1 billion US tons) of plastic have been produced worldwide, and it is found that 9.1% of plastic waste is not recycled, and this is an alarming figure which is contaminating our natural environment. Although plastic is a very useful material that’s rigid, flexible and robust, it becomes waste right after use, and contaminate the environment.

plastic-bottle

In order to protect our environmental surroundings as well as to make the most of plastic material, recycling procedure is the best solution. Plastic is actually a common material that’s now frequently used by everyone on this planet. Plastic is used in several ways because it is compact and lightweight.

The continues maintenance required is little.

Typical plastic items that usually used are bottles, food packages, bags, and containers. When you buy grocery, food items or any other product from any store or shop, you’ll use plastic bags for carrying them.

Uses of Plastic

Plastics are commonly used in:

  • Construction industry
  • Packaging industry
  • Storage
  • Disposable cutlery, etc.

Where does the Problem Lie?

The big problem with plastic is its disposal.

Plastic is made of polymer-bonded substances and isn’t biodegradable which means plastic won’t break down when it is buried. When plastic is burnt, it discharges detrimental chemical substances in smoke. Most of these chemical substances in smoke have negative effects on our ecosystem. Therefore, the necessity of recycling arises.

Straight into Something New

Recycling means making new items out of waste material.

Almost all types of plastic materials can’t be reprocessed. If we recycle those that can be reprocessed, the earth will be saved to a certain degree. Plastic recycling requires the process of recovering discard plastic, and this particular waste is then reprocessed to make new materials that could be more advanced than their original state.

When compared with many other materials such as metal and glass, recycling of plastic is complex and expensive. It’s because of the high molecular body weight of the large polymer-bonded chains that make the plastic material.

Heating plastic does not melt the polymer-bonded chains, and therefore, a tiresome and complicated procedure is required. Several types of plastic-type material can’t be mixed since they recycle separately.

Benefits of Recycling

Recycling plastic has many positive aspects.

  • Use of non-renewable fuels is usually reduced by recycling as the production of new plastic materials requires more of these fuels.
  • Use of electrical power is also reduced because already prepared plastic material is reused.
  • Amount of plastic-type material that reaches the garbage dump sites are reduced. This may eradicate land pollution to some extent.
  • Carbon pollutants are reduced because manufacturing units discharge more carbon.

Inverse Polymerization Procedure

The most popular procedure that is used for polymers recycle is the inverse polymerization procedure in which the polymers in the plastic material are transformed into monomers that are used in the manufacturing process.

plastic-wastes

Recycling has unending benefits

Most of these chemical substances are then synthesized and purified to form new materials. Different polymers are usually transformed into oil in another process. The main advantage of this particular process is that any mixture of polymers can easily be used.

Steps Involved in Recycling

The standard steps which are involved in the particular recycling of plastic material are;

  • Step 1: Accumulating plastic waste from industries and households.
  • Step 2: Separating the plastic waste materials in different categories such as bags, containers, pet bottles, etc.
  • Step 3: The plastic is cut into small pieces.
  • Step 4: The small pieces are carefully cleaned for removing any unwanted particles or dirt contaminants on them.
  • Step 5: The cleaned pieces are dissolved and poured into storage containers for recycling.

In order to aid this process, plastics that have identification code should be identified with the different polymers that are usually used in the manufacturing of plastic. This process should be started at home. When you’ve used that plastic item, you can easily use the same item for something else entirely. For instance, if you purchase a fruit juice bottle, you can easily use the plastic bottle as a storage bottle for reusing the PET bottle.