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Billions to be made in the plastics recycling sector?

The global recycled plastics market is expected to be worth over EUR 45.8 billion (US$ 66.7 billion) by 2025. This projection suggests a steady 6.8% compound annual growth rate.

In terms of applications, bottling is expected to maintain its dominance while the plastic film segment is likely to witness significant growth, says the new report by Research&Markets. A positive development is that leading beverage consumer brands have started collaborating with recyclers by establishing collection and sorting projects to help boost the demand for recycled polyethelene (rPET).

‘The competitive scenario is very fragmented, with a large number of players competing in almost all segments,’ analysts note. Costly waste collection, sorting, and cleaning are the biggest challenges limiting the feedstock availability for plastic recyclers.

‘The real competition of the recyclers is not among each other, but with the virgin polymer producers,’ the report contends. Increased competitive advantage against virgin plastic is expected to attract more players, creating opportunity for technological development and overall market growth.

Globally, the US leads the market with the highest per capita consumption and collection of waste plastic. Analysts believe this ‘may pave the way for the largest recycled plastics market’.

In recent months, the Chinese market has been witnessing ‘sweeping changes’ driven by harsh regulations; banning the imports of contaminated plastic scrap and forcing the domestic recyclers to either redirect their resources towards domestic waste management or abandon the business. Other Asian countries have since become popular destinations for end-of-life plastic – though they have been taking on a more strict approach to waste imports as well.

Meanwhile, Europe has seen growing momentum for more ambitious targets for plastic products, especially in the packaging segment. It is hoped the EU’s circuler economy legislation will take the recycling sector to the next level.

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