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The global recycled plastic market size was USD 46.89 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 50.78 billion in 2023 to USD 88.96 billion in 2030 at a CAGR of 8.3% during the forecast period.
Recycled plastic is scrap or waste plastic materials that are processed into useful products. Since most of the polymer materials used globally are non-biodegradable, recycling these materials is the solution to reduce the burden of polymer present in the environment. The increasing restrictions on the usage of single-use polymers and the initiatives taken by governments in Europe, China, India, and Brazil are expected to promote recycling. For instance, the European Union has made plans to prohibit single-use polymer products since 2021. Moreover, the shift of end-use industries, especially packaging and consumer goods, towards sustainable or recyclable materials will drive market growth. Further, the innovation and development of products, including packaging bottles, films, containers, and cutlery using Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) plastics, will provide huge growth opportunities for the market.
COVID-19 Pandemic had a Significant Impact on the Production and Usage of Recycled Plastic
Plastic recycling had a significant impact on the pandemic owing to the difficulties faced in the collection of waste polymer products during the lockdown conditions. The halt in transportation activities resulted in a further reduction of waste reaching the processing plants. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has surged the problem of plastic pollution as the governments have eased restrictions over single-use polymers and end-users readopting these materials for health and protection reasons. Retail shops and supermarkets have started using single-use materials for packaging vegetables and fruits to maintain hygiene. This has reduced the demand from end-users.
However, with the depressing COVID-19 cases, governments are strategizing plans to reduce pollution. For instance, the U.K. government has implemented the Plastic Packaging Tax 2022, which mandates the use of 30% recycled material in the plastic packaging products adopted in the market. Such an initiative will help in raising the demand.
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Regulations Imposed by Authorities to Surge the Adoption of Recycled Products
Regulations imposed by the government and regulatory bodies in North America and Europe promote the adoption of recycled plastic in several applications. For instance, the regulations in European countries for designing recycling processes, collection schemes, and innovation of products are encouraging polymer manufacturers towards recycling. Moreover, a ban on single-use polymers enforced by the countries such as the U.S., Brazil, India, and Canada to reduce plastic pollution will act as a supporting trend to the market.
Furthermore, the plastic recycling rates in countries such as India, China, and Mexico were 60%, 25%, and 24%, respectively, in 2018. The growing recycling rates in developing countries will provide growth opportunities for plastic recyclers across the globe. Therefore, the initiatives in favor of recycling taken by several countries will stimulate the growth of the market.
Increasing Adoption in Packaging Industry to Drive the Adoption of Recycled Plastic
The demand for recycled materials is advancing in various industries, such as food & beverage and consumer goods. In the food & beverage industry, the consumption of recyclable polymer is increasing owing to the high demand for food-safe packaging material. These materials can effectively replace conventional plastics as a barrier between food products and environmental factors, which ultimately increases the market. Recycled polyethylene terephthalate is an ideal material significantly preferred in the manufacturing of bottles for water and beverage packaging.
Besides food and beverage packaging, recycled polymers are used in the packaging of products such as sports equipment, fashion accessories, and toys, which helps in increasing the product’s durability. Further, these plastics have found increased demand in the packaging of products such as soaps, surfactants, shampoos, and other personal care products due to their non-reactive nature. The rising usage in the manufacturing of packaging products for consumer goods will boost market growth.
Preference for Virgin Plastics over their Recycled Alternatives to Restrict the Market Growth
Virgin plastics are used in several applications, including the packaging of food to produce automotive components. They have a significant advantage over their recycled alternatives in terms of quality. Although the regulatory groups have developed mandates to increase the use of PCR plastics in packaging products, the manufacturers are doubtful about using them due to the chances of impurities.
Additionally, virgin polymers are preferred in applications that require specific compositions of chemicals and additives. Further, the pandemic caused a decline in crude oil prices, resulting in the reduction of virgin plastics' costs compared to its recycled alternative. The above factors are expected to restrict the market growth during the review period.
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Polyethylene Terephthalate to Remain Dominant throughout the Forecast Period due to its Unique Characteristics
On the basis of type, the market is segmented into polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and others. Polyethylene terephthalate is the largest segment owing to its large-scale usage for food packaging and bottling application. It witnesses a high demand for the packaging of food & beverage products as it is non-toxic, lightweight, durable, and has easy recyclability. The regulations placed by many governments across the globe have made bottled water and beverage manufacturers shift from virgin PET to recycled PET for the manufacture of packaging bottles. Furthermore, recycled PET finds application in the manufacture of carpets, furniture, and fibers, which is expected to boost the market.
PP is one of the majorly used plastics owing to its high demand from packaging and automotive industries. Several manufacturers use recycled PP for packaging their products as it is durable and more sustainable than its traditional counterparts. Automotive companies are replacing virgin PP parts with recycled PP as it reduces their overall carbon footprint.
HDPE is regarded as the most comfortable plastic to recycle. Around 30 million tonnes of HDPE waste is created every year globally. As HDPE is non-biodegradable, it becomes imperative to reuse and recycle this type of plastic to reduce its impact on the environment. Production of recycled HDPE reduces dependence on petroleum for raw materials and is cost-effective compared to virgin plastic production. Along with traditional applications of HDPE, recycled HDPE is also used to manufacture ropes, toys, pipes, and bins.
Besides, LDPE is considered to be a clean and safe plastic, but its production requires sizable amounts of petroleum products, which makes it imperative to develop a more sustainable, recycled alternative. Recycled LDPE finds application in construction as wall panels and floorings. It is also used in the manufacturing of furniture, garbage cans, and packaging bubble wrap, which further creates a growth opportunity for the market.
Non-Food Packaging Segment to Generate Highest Revenue owing to Increasing Product Demand from Bottles and Packaging Products
On the basis of application, the market is categorized into non-food packaging, food packaging, construction, automotive, and others. The non-food packaging segment is expected to hold the highest recycled plastic market share throughout the forecast period due to the high demand for recycled PET for manufacturing bottles and other packaging products such as films and wraps. These polymers are generally available at a lower price than virgin plastics, which further boosts demand for the manufacturing of packaging products.
On the other hand, these plastics also find significant applications in food packaging. Food product manufacturers seek materials that are not only safe for food handling but also are sustainable and cheap. These prerequisites are met by recycled polymer, which leads to a high demand for such plastics from food products manufacturers.
The construction segment is considered to be one of the most prominent segments in terms of application in the market. The growing use of recycled polymer in the production of numerous construction-related products such as flooring, wall panels, wallpaper films, pipes & fittings, and other building materials is expected to surge the demand in building & construction applications.
Similarly, the automotive application segment is expected to provide substantial growth in the sale of recycled plastic in the forecast period. The increase in the use of these plastics in the automotive industry as a replacement for costlier conventional polymers for the manufacture of body parts is expected to create growth opportunities for the market.
Asia Pacific Recycled Plastic Market Size, 2022 (USD Billion)
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The market in Asia Pacific stood at USD 28.13 billion in 2022 and is expected to remain the largest throughout the forecast period due to China and India being the leading recycled plastic-consuming countries. A large number of bottled water manufacturers are present in the region, which results in large-scale consumption of plastic bottles. Additionally, the packaging industry is swiftly growing, which further accentuates the market in the region. China is the dominating country in the region owing to the high production and consumption of packaging products.
On the other hand, in Europe, the demand for products from the construction and automotive industry is growing at a substantial rate. The market growth will be supported by regulations put forward by the European Union in 2021 to effectively reduce the usage of single-use plastics in the region.
In North America, the U.S. accounted for the larger market share due to the increase in demand from the packaging and automotive industries. The market growth in North America will be subpar as compared to Asia Pacific and Europe due to the slowdown of the construction industry in the region, but the rise in food packaging is expected to create lucrative opportunities for stakeholders in the region.
In the Middle East & Africa, the key factors influencing the growth of the market are the increased demand for food packaging and construction applications. In this region, food packaging shall be the primary application for Recycled Plastic. The rise in demand for lightweight yet sustainable food packaging shall augment the use of these polymers over traditional ones in the region.
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Latin America is projected to witness considerable growth in the market. The increased consumption of plastics due to the ban placed on single-use plastic products and the growing number of packaging product manufacturers are factors surging the recycled plastic market growth in the region.
Key Market Players to Use Product Innovation to Enhance the Performance of Their Offerings
The major producers are present throughout the globe. One of the major companies, The Coca-Cola Company Incorporated, is expanding globally by using strategies such as joint ventures, product innovation, and expansion. The company has made a World Without Waste strategy to convert 100% of its packaging into recyclable products by 2025 and use about 50% of recycled material in s packaging products by 2030. Also, the Coca-Cola Company, Diageo, Nestlé, and Unilever formed the ‘African Plastics Recycling Alliance’ to change the plastic recycling market across sub-Saharan Africa.
An Infographic Representation of Recycled Plastic Market
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The recycled plastics market report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, technologies, and leading application areas. Besides this, the research report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the sample report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market in recent years.
CAGR of 8.3% from 2023 to 2030
Value (USD Billion); Volume (Million Ton)
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market was valued at USD 46.89 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 88.96 billion by 2030.
In 2022, the market value stood at USD 46.89 billion.
Growing at a CAGR of 8.3%, the market will exhibit rapid growth during the forecast period (2023-2030).
Polyethylene terephthalate is expected to lead the market during the forecast period.
Increasing demand from the packaging industry is the key factor driving the global market.
Plastipak Holdings, Suez Group, and Veolia are the leading players in this market.
Asia Pacific held the highest market share in the global market in 2020.
The rising demand for recyclable plastics from the automotive industry and government policies restricting single-use plastics consumption are the key factors driving product adoption.
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