The global recycled plastic market size was valued at USD 43.80 billion and is expected to reach USD 65.09 billion by 2030 growing at a CAGR of 4.5% during the forecast period (2022-2030).
The global plastics market is among the most heavily regulated markets globally. The market is characterized by a large number of players operating across the globe. With technological advancements, various types of plastics have been introduced.
The growing demand for plastics in the construction, automotive, medical devices, and electrical and electronics industries is expected to boost the worldwide plastics market. Recycled plastics are also used to produce sustainable and impact-resistance packaging solutions. After the pandemic outbreak of COVID-19, consumers have shifted toward e-commerce websites for a wide range of products. In addition, the demand for packed and takeout food has increased owing to the consumers spending more time on work. Polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene are primarily recycled plastics used for packaging.
Growing concerns related to plastic pollution, harmful emissions with petrochemicals, and depleting crude oil reserves have been driving the demand for recycled plastics. The global production of recycled plastic materials is mainly from the Asia-Pacific & Southeast Asia, North America, and Europe. The increasing usage of recycled plastics in many industries such as textiles, automotive, packaging, electrical & electronics, and building & construction is expected to rise the demand for recycled plastics across the globe.
With rising concerns over the use of plastics, an increase in demand for alternatives to conventional plastics has been observed in the market. With the pace of innovation and new product development, manufacturers in the market are shifting their focus toward using recycled plastics as these reduce the carbon footprint associated with the manufacturing process. Firms are continuously developing product lines using recycled materials to address the concerns regarding the toxic effects of plastic waste. Many small- and medium-scale businesses have committed to using recycled or sustainably sourced materials within a specific time frame.
This shift has further gained pace since the pandemic outbreak of COVID-19 as it has severely impacted the buying behavior of consumers and their preference when choosing products and services. Consumers are now more conscious of the environmental impact, recyclability, and decomposition time of the creation in landfills. This is likely to compel the customers to buy products made from recycled plastics over those made from conventional plastics.
According to an article published by the National Geographic Society, the global plastic recycling rate is 9%. The rest of the plastic waste generated globally pollutes the rivers, landfills, and improper dumping. Rising plastic waste accumulation, recycling, and reuse are the major concerns for governments across the globe.
Countries like Germany, the U.K., Italy, and France have already implemented the circular economy. In addition, countries such as France and Italy have imposed taxes on the manufacturing of packaging products without using recycled plastics. Various companies producing packaged water bottles in countries such as Australia, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Peru have started using bottles made from recycled plastics. These trends are expected to benefit the overall market growth over the forecast period.
Recently, there has been a substantial shift toward using recycled plastics as an eco-friendly solution. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has further intensified this trend as a safer alternative compared to conventional plastics owing to the safety concerns of reusable bags, plastic bags, containers & mugs, and disposable packaging. Government-imposed social distancing measures, health awareness, and lockdowns to contain the transmission of the epidemic have forced people to depend more on food delivery services. Therefore, consumers are now more conscious of how companies are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of sustainability, safety, quality, and accessibility of food & its packaging, further boosting the demand for recycled plastics for food packaging solutions.
The main hindrance to the market is the higher cost of recycled plastics to the end-user than that of conventional plastics. Production of recycled plastics requires machinery & equipment and, most importantly, plastic waste collection services, which act as a fixed cost and cannot be altered in the most optimistic situation. On the other hand, the cost associated with conventional plastic resin production depends mainly on the global crude oil prices.
Apart from the cost, the lack of infrastructures, such as waste collection and recycling facilities, is an uphill challenge. Before China banned plastic waste imports, North American and European countries were dependent on China for recycling plastic waste. Approximately 85% of plastic was exported by European and North American countries in the Asia Pacific region.
Textile is a critical end-use industry for recycled plastics because recycled PET, the most commonly used in fiber applications worldwide, is the most generally recycled resin worldwide. Over the past five years, there's been a dramatic increase in the number of large garment firms, enterprises, and environmental organizations that have begun to use plastics in their textiles to prevent plastic pollutants. Recycled plastic clothing is identical to conventional dress in quality and feel. As a result, products created from recycled plastic bottles indirectly contribute to a more sustainable economy. Consequently, the use of these plastics in textiles is rapidly rising.
The global recycled plastic market is divided by product, source, application, and region.
Based on the source, the global recycled plastic market is segmented into plastic bottles, plastic films, polymer foam, and others. The plastic bottles segment was the dominant source segment in the overall Asia-Pacific recycled plastic market in 2021. It is valued at USD 36,380 million in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 57265 million by 2030 growing at a CAGR of 5%. The segment is expected to witness the fastest growth rate over the forecast period. Plastic bottles are the primary source of recycled plastics. They find various applications across industries for vital packaging medicines, agrochemicals, homecare products, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, fruit drinks, edible & non-edible oils, water, and carbonated beverages.
Based on product, the global recycled plastic market is segmented into polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, and others. It is valued at USD 11,505 million in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 18895 million by 2030 growing at a CAGR of 6%. Recycled plastics are used in automotive applications on account of being lightweight, impact-resistant, and shock absorbent. Furthermore, technical improvements and the growing popularity of electric cars have increased the demand for lightweight, long-lasting, and recyclable items. A gradual increase in the number of electric vehicles on the road is predicted to boost the growth of the recycled plastic market over the forecast period.
Based on application, the global recycled plastic market is segmented into building & construction, packaging, electrical & electronics, textiles, and automotive. The packaging application segment dominated the recycled plastic market in 2021 and is anticipated to maintain its dominance over the forecast period. It is valued at USD 18,325 million in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 29120 million by 2030 growing at a CAGR of 5%. Recycled plastics are widely used in packaging applications such as food and non-food containers, beverage bottles, personal care products, household goods, and film and sheets. Some of the most common recycled plastics used for packaging are polyethylene terephthalate, polypropylene, polyethylene, and polystyrene. Plastic packaging's superior shock-absorbing capabilities make it perfect for storing and transporting fragile things such as electronics, consumer goods, wines, pharmaceuticals, and chemical products.
Based on region, the global recycled plastic market is segmented into North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, Asia-Pacific, Central & South America, and Middle East & Africa.
The Asia-Pacific dominated the global recycled plastic market owing to the rising demand from various industries such as packaging, electrical & electronics, building & construction, textiles, and automotive, which are more inclined toward adopting recycled plastics. It is valued at USD 23,448 million in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 38356 million by 2030 growing at a CAGR of 6%.
Recycled plastics are widely used to build roofing tiles, structural lumber, bricks, fences, PVC windows, concrete structures, and indoor insulation. The population explosion, coupled with rapid urbanization and industrialization, especially in emerging economies, has encouraged governments to increase their construction spending for infrastructural development. Hence, the growing construction spending in the region is expected to create massive demand for recycled plastics.
Furthermore, the growing popularity of green and sustainable building projects in China and India, due to rising environmental concerns, is propelling the adoption of recycled plastics in the building & construction industry. Several benefits of recycled plastics, such as energy efficiency, low cost, lightweight, durability, and lower carbon footprint, are attracting builders and contractors to adopt recycled plastics.
Europe has the highest plastic recycling rate owing to the adoption of the circular economy by the European Commission for reducing plastic waste. The region recycles approximately 45% of its plastic waste and produces recycled plastics. These recycled plastics are used in various industries, including building & construction, packaging, agriculture, automotive, and electrical & electronics. It is valued at USD 10,445 million in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 16320 million by 2030 growing at a CAGR of 5%. In Europe, recycled plastics produce various products such as pipes, insulation boards, corrugated boards, garbage bags, bubble wraps, bottles, backpacks, shoes, hangers, cable casings, and bumpers.
Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the construction industry has witnessed a decline of 24%, severely impacting the need for recycled plastics in the region. According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, the need for electric vehicles is increasing in the region; in 2019, 1.8 million electric cars will be registered. Easing lockdown norms, resumption of the construction industry, and rising demand for electric vehicles are expected to boost the recycled plastic market in the region.
List of Key Companies Profiled in the Recycled Plastic Market
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