The global recycled plastics market is estimated at USD 36.93 Billion in 2017 and is projected to reach USD 50.36 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 6.4% between 2017 and 2022. The market is witnessing growth due to the growing awareness regarding the environmental benefits provided by recycled plastics over virgin plastics. Moreover, the energy consumed in recycling plastics is less than that of virgin plastics, which is further driving the demand for recycled plastics in many applications.
Plastics are lightweight, durable and inexpensive materials, which can be readily made into a variety of products. As a result, the production of plastics has increased manifold over the last few decades. However, their present levels of usage have generated huge waste disposals resulting in several environmental problems. Landfill is the conventional method for the disposal of the waste, but landfill area has become scarce in many countries. Although, this method has limited environmental impacts, there are long-term risks of contamination of soils and groundwater, associated with it, thus polluting it.
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Usage of plastics also cause marine pollution as used plastics are strewn across oceans, bays, rivers and estuaries causing severe plastic pollution, impact biodiversity and ecosystem, food security, and human health. They contaminate the aquatic ecosystems in the form of tiny particles of plastic debris. This affect the marine organisms as they ingest or get entangled by plastic which results in fatal consequences. Thus, plastic pollution has been a global threat as, around 4.4–12.7 million tons of plastic wastes are added to the oceans per year. Plastic wastes in the water bodies are not constrained by national boundaries as they can migrate via water and air currents and settle in the benthic zone of water unlike other pollutants such as greenhouse gases (GHG) and ozone-depleting material. This has led to the creation of the Great Pacific garbage patch, also known as the Pacific trash vortex. Discovered between 1985 and 1988, it is a gyre of marine debris particles located in the central North Pacific Ocean. The trash majorly consists of plastic debris and they are widely scattered along a wide area, which makes it difficult to clear it up.
Thus, recycling of plastics has emerged as the leading method to curb negative environmental impact and resource depletion. With the growing concern of effects of plastics pollutions, recycled plastics is fast becoming the solution to limit it, as recycling results in decrease in use of energy, material usage and improve eco-efficiency. All these factors play a significant role in driving the usage of recycled plastics.
Veolia (France), Suez (France), KW Plastics (US), and Jayplas (UK) are the leading players in the global recycled plastics market. These companies accounted for the highest number of strategic activities, with expansions, new product launches, mergers & acquisitions, and joint ventures being the most preferred.
Veolia is one of the top players in the global recycled plastics market and caters to this market through its waste management unit, which deals with the collection, treatment, and recycling of municipal and industrial waste. Strong focus on energy-efficiency and cost-effectiveness has earned the company a strong customer base. For instance, in 2016, Veolia UK acquired the Euro Closed Loop Recycling plant in Dagenham (UK) to further expand its recycling business and produce around 10,000 tons of high quality food grade HDPE pellets each year from the said production plant.
Suez is another major recycling company for plastics. In 2017, Suez signed an agreement with LyondellBasell to produce high-quality circular polymers. Under the terms of the agreement, the companies are 50-50 stakeholders of QCP3, a high-standard plastics recovering company producing PP and HDPE resins from the recovered plastics. The aim of this joint venture is to further increase their recycling capability and thereby increase their presence in the recycled plastics market.
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