US resin demand to exceed 14 billion pounds in 2016
US demand for plastic containers is expected to surpass $32 billion in 2016, with resin demand reaching 14.2 billion pounds. Advances will be driven by performance advantages over metal, glass and paperboard alternatives, which will stimulate ongoing opportunities in a broad range of applications. Additionally, unit gains will be propelled by preferences for small, single-serving containers in bottle markets such as water, carbonated soft drinks, and milk; and in tub, cup, and bowl markets such as yogurt, soup, fruit, coffee, and condiments. However, advances will be moderated by the maturity of a number of bottle markets, along with heightened competition from flexible packaging in the tub, cup, and bowl, and tray markets.
Resin demand will trail unit gains due to lightweighting of bottles in many markets to hold down resin and shipping costs, and to enhance sustainability. Notable markets where significant lightweighting has been achieved include bottled water and liquid laundry detergent. The liquid laundry detergent market has transitioned to more concentrated formulations that require smaller bottles.
Pharmaceutical, food usesn to spur bottles & jars gains
Among major bottle and jar markets, the fastest gains are anticipated for food and pharmaceutical applications. In pharmaceutical applications, growth for bottles and jars will be supported by heightened pharmaceutical production, along with above-average expansion among the older population segments, which comprise the most intensive consumers of pharmaceuticals and related containers. Plastic bottle demand in food uses will be driven by barrier property and processing improvements that will create further opportunities for PET bottles in hot-fill applications and for HDPE and PET bottles in aseptic applications.
Faster volume gains are anticipated for plastic containers other than bottles and jars, the result of continued favorable growth for tubs, cups, and bowls and improved demand for other plastic container types. Tub, cup, and bowl demand will be supported by the convenience, portability, and portion control benefits of singleserving cup packaging, as well as the presence of food industry growth segments (e.g., yogurt, hummus, single-cup coffee) in which tub and cup packaging is used. However, volume expansion will be moderated by thinwalling of containers in order to reduce the amount of material consumed per container.
Prospects for plastic pails will be helped by recoveries in residential, office, and commercial construction from their low 2011 levels, which will boost demand for paints, adhesives, driveway sealers, and other goods typically packaged in pails. A rebound in the construction market will also stimulate demand for other plastic containers such as plastic paint cans and plastic caulking cartridges.
PET, HDPE to remain major plastic container resins
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) are by far the major resins for plastic containers, accounting for a combined 86 percent of demand in 2011. PET will see higher volume gains in uses such as food and pharmaceutical bottles, trays, and tubs, cups, and bowls. HDPE demand will rebound from declines in the 2006-2011 period. However, gains will be restrained by declining per capita consumption of milk, the downsizing of detergent and bleach bottles, and competition from laundry detergents that are not packaged in bottles.
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