Plastic additives are ingredients added in plastics to enhance their functionality, such as process-ability, performance, or appearance. These functions include preventing plastics from becoming hard and brittle at low temperatures, soft and sticky at high temperatures, or making them more flexible and durable. The plastic additives market is expected to evolve and diversify itself as companies focus on enhancing physical properties with high performance, along with pressure from government institutions regarding environmental regulations.
Plastic Is a Substitute for Conventional Materials
The use of additives in plastics has revolutionized plastic usage. Additive engineering has made it possible for manufacturers to use plastics under different applications. Plastic over the years has completely dominated over conventional materials, such as metal, ceramic, glass, and paper. Due to its superior resistance against abrasion, chemical, and fire retardation, along with better mechanical and electrical properties, plastics have replaced these conventional materials in applications, such as packaging, automotive, consumer goods, construction, agriculture, and Healthcare. Manufacturer’s constant strides in reducing the weight of a product and improving its aesthetics have been one of the key factors in the rising demand for plastic additives.
Increased Safety Due to Plastics to Boost the Market Growth
Engineered plastics have also been able to improve the safety standards of several products. Flame retardants are extensively used in critical electrical, construction, and transport applications to suppress the rate of combustion in fire outbreaks. The use of plastics in automobile applications has considerably increased as it makes the vehicle lighter, reducing fuel consumption, better energy efficiency, and also making it safer due to enhanced stability. Additionally, seat belts, airbags, and children's seats are all made out of engineering plastics, which have made vehicle driving a lot safer.
Increasing Demand from Packaged Drinking Water Create an Upswing for the Market Growth
Bottled water continues to make pronounced shifts in consumer preferences, with a wide variety of packaged bottles being introduced into the market, such as sparkling water, minerals infused water, flavored bottled water, among others. As per the International Bottled Water Associations 2018 report, the U.S bottled water market consumption increased from 12,808 million gallons to 13,7105 million gallons with a 7% growth rate. The report further estimates that the per-person consumption of bottled water is expected to reach more than 50 gallons in the coming years. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is the most widely used plastic for packaging bottled waters. Furthermore, a high recyclable rate as compared to other plastics is another major factor for the adoption of this type of polymer.
Stringent Environmental Norms regarding the Recycling of Plastic May Hamper the Market Growth
Plastic has a wide variety of applications, such as packaging, automobile, electrical electronics, textiles, household appliances, among others. Moreover, plastic is non-biodegradable, meaning it photo degrades and breaks into smaller fragments that assimilate toxins, polluting water bodies and seeping into underground water systems, contaminated soils, and migrates into the food chain, and increases toxicity.
Governments globally have come together to fight global plastic pollution and have put in place stringent norms to tackle the ill effects of plastic disposal. For instance, the Basel Conference of the Parties, held in May 2019, amended the Basel Convention to include plastic waste in a legally binding framework, and this required countries to take prior informed consent before exporting mixed plastic scrap. Furthermore, the rising environmental consciousness about plastic pollution in the oceans has also led to the banning of plastics in many countries in a phased manner. These aforementioned factors are anticipated to hamper the growth of the plastic additives market.
The plastic additives market due to its multiple benefits has evolved and been offering various kinds of additives over the years. By type, the market has been segmented into Plasticizers, Stabilizers, Flame retardants, and Impact modifiers. Other additives include internal lubricants, antioxidants, antistatic agents, fillers, pigments, among others. The plasticizers segment is expected to hold a dominant market share accounting for more than 50%. Plasticizers are mainly used in PVC to increase the plasticity and fluidity of the material.
As per Plastics Europe, the demand for PVC in Europe in 2018 was around 5 million tons of which a major application is the construction industry. Stabilizers are used to prevent heat and UV light from mechanical degradation of the plastic. These are mainly used in the packaging industry and consumer goods where the quality of the product is critical. Flame retardants as mentioned earlier have applications in public transport and construction industries to increase safety.
Impact modifiers are used in rigid polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), or styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN), which are brittle at ambient temperatures. They increase flexibility and impact strength of the materials, which can be varied as per the requirement and application.
Plastic additives have numerous applications for which the market has been segmented in packaging, automotive, consumer goods, construction, and others. The packaging industry has been hugely benefited by the rise of the E-commerce industry. According to India Brand Equity Foundation, the Indian E-commerce industry is expected to generate USD 99 Billion by 2024 at a CAGR of 27% and is set to become the second-largest E-commerce market in the world by 2034. Some of the additives that are used in the packaging industry are plasticizers, flame retardants, antioxidants, acid scavengers, light and heat stabilizers, lubricants, pigments, antistatic agents, slip compounds, and thermal stabilizers.
The automotive industry is also largely benefited by the use of engineered plastics. The use of plastics has resulted in the loss of weight resulting in decreased fuel consumption, energy efficiency, and improvement in overall safety and stability. Heat resistant plastic additives are essential in the vehicle as it reduces Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions, a critical requirement.
The use of plastics also enhances the aesthetics of the vehicle resulting in more value addition. The automotive industry is expected to make a rebound in 2021 post the pandemic year. The demand for electric vehicles is expected to surge the market growth ultimately benefiting the plastic additives market. UV light stabilizers and antioxidants have been a boon for the construction and building industry. Stringent government regulations for UV and thermal specifications and increased consumer awareness regarding environmentally friendly products are expected to create positive gains for the plastic additives market.
As mentioned earlier, more than 50% of plastic production is carried out in China, followed by Europe and North America. The focus of the Chinese government to build world-class infrastructure has led to the rise of the construction industry creating a huge demand for plastic additives for various plastic end-use. The packaging industry, which holds the largest share in the plastic additives market is expected to grow significantly in Asia-Pacific. Major factors are the growing population, along with their disposable income, rising industrial output, and strong government impetus on infrastructural development.
Emerging economies in other regions, such as Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and Russia are also expected to contribute to the growth of the plastic additives market. Brazil is set to become one of the largest manufacturing hubs for the automotive industry.According to OICA, Brazil produced a total of 2,944,988 vehicles in 2019, an increase of 2.2% as compared to 2018. Brazil is expected to make a rebound post-pandemic in which the automotive industry is anticipated to play a key role in benefiting the plastic additives market.
Mexico is anticipated to capitalize on its oil production, which is the prime source of petrochemicals and plastics. Plastic additives manufacturers are expected to set up their facilities in Mexico to leverage the country’s oil production and its closer proximity to the U.S. soil. Moreover, NAFTA which includes the U.S., Canada, and Mexico is anticipated to contribute to market growth.
Songwon Industrial Co. Ltd., Albemarle Corporation, Clariant AG, BASF SE, The Dow Chemical Company, Bayer AG, Evonik Industries AG, Kaneka Corporation, Lanxess AG, Polyone Corporation, Eastman Chemical Company, Blackwell Plastics
Plastic Additives Market: Segmentation
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