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How Sustainability Trends are Affecting the Global Plastics Industry, 2017–2026

How Sustainability Trends are Affecting the Global Plastics Industry, 2017–2026

People are becoming more aware of plastic pollution, and consumers and manufacturers are seeking ways to reduce their contribution to the problem. Using less plastic, improving recycling rates, using more biodegradable plastics, and moving toward a circular economy for plastics are all potential solutions. The goal of this report is to present in great detail several options to improve the sustainability of plastics, and determine to what degree each option will be integrated into the market through the forecast period. For example, alternatives to plastic are discussed and segmented into specific applications. The environmental impact of paper or metal straws, cloth bags, paper cups, and other plastic alternatives are discussed, and the most environmentally friendly options are highlighted for each application.

In-depth primary and secondary research is the foundation of this report. Companies all along the supply chain were consulted to gain a thorough overview of the sustainable plastics market. This research also builds off of years of research done at Frost & Sullivan in terms of understanding how the thermoplastics industry is being affected by growing concerns over the environmental impact of plastics.

Market information and forecasts for the thermoplastics, recycled thermoplastics, and bioplastics markets are given for 2017 to 2026. These markets are broken down by region, type of plastic, and industry. The market drivers and restraints for each forecast are discussed to provide additional context. Key manufacturers in each of these markets are also discussed. The prospects of the recycled plastics and bioplastics are dependent on the type of plastic, so more information is provided about the differences. HDPE and PET, for example, are large parts of the recycled plastics market, while the recycled polystyrene market is much smaller. Reasons for this are discussed, and innovations that can improve recycling rates of polystyrene are included.

The effects of regulations and recent regulatory enforcement are also discussed. Countries have different policies on plastics. Plastic bags have been banned in many locations, and bans on other single-use plastics are being endorsed and ratified. Additional governmental policies, such as the recent changes in China’s policies on scrap plastic imports, are also examined. These regulations affect the growth of the plastics market in general as well as how quickly plastics become more environmentally friendly.

Ten growth opportunities for plastic manufacturers are also provided. These incorporate the expected forecasts and how manufacturers can best leverage the changes in the plastics market. The opportunities include the development or increased use of new technologies, new collection methods, increasing the use of specific sources of plastic waste, and certain business strategies. By implementing these strategies, manufacturers and processors of plastic waste can capture more of the sustainable plastics market as it quickly grows in the next decade.


  • Executive Summary
    • Strategic Imperative
    • Study Scope
    • Sustainable Plastics Industry-Key Findings
    • Sustainability Goals-Minimizing Environmental Impact
    • Methods to Minimize Environmental Impact-Alternative Materials
    • Methods to Minimize Environmental Impact- Biodegradable Plastics
    • Methods to Minimize Environmental Impact-Recycling
    • Effect of Regulations on Environmental Impact
    • Sustainable Plastics Supply Chain-End-Use Consumers
    • Sustainable Plastics Supply Chain-Manufacturers
    • Sustainable Plastics Supply Chain-OEMs and Consumer- Facing Manufacturers
    • Growth Opportunities in the Sustainable Plastics Industry
  • Industry Definitions
    • Sustainable Plastics
    • Sustainable Plastics-Sources for Manufacturing
    • Sustainable Plastics-Sustainable Designs
    • Recycling
    • Recycled Plastics-Typical Uses
    • Recycled Plastics-Commodity and High-Performance Polymers
    • Biodegradation
    • Bioplastics-Typical Uses
    • 6 Biodegradable Bioplastics
    • Types of Biodegradable Plastics
    • 15 Nonbiodegradable Bioplastics
    • Types of Nonbiodegradable Bioplastics
  • Drivers and Restraints
    • Drivers for Sustainable Plastics
    • Drivers for Sustainable Plastics Explained
    • Restraints for Sustainable Plastics
    • Restraints for Sustainable Plastics Explained
  • Thermoplastics Industry Information
    • Thermoplastics Overview
    • Drivers for Thermoplastics
    • Drivers for Thermoplastics Explained
    • Restraints for Thermoplastics
    • Restraints for Thermoplastics Explained
    • Thermoplastics Industry-Volume Share by Polymer
    • Thermoplastics Industry-Revenue Share by Polymer
    • Thermoplastics Industry-Revenue Forecast by Polymer
      • Table Thermoplastics Industry: Revenue Forecast by Polymer, Global, 2017-2026
    • Thermoplastics Industry-Price Forecast by Polymer
      • Table Thermoplastics Industry: Price Forecast by Polymer, Global, 2017-2026
    • Thermoplastics Industry-Revenue Share Forecast by End-Use Industry
    • Thermoplastics Industry-Revenue Forecast by End-Use Industry
      • Table Thermoplastics Industry: Revenue Forecast by End-Use Industry, Global, 2017-2026
  • Perspectives Along the Supply Chain
    • Sustainable Plastics Industry-Nonprofit Organizations and Government Agencies
    • Sustainable Plastics Supply Chain-Waste Processors
    • Sustainable Plastics Supply Chain-Resin Manufacturers
    • Sustainable Plastics Supply Chain-OEMs
    • Sustainable Plastics Supply Chain-Consumer-facing Manufacturers
    • Sustainable Plastics Supply Chain-End-Use Consumers
  • Reducing the Use of Plastic
    • Methods to Reduce Plastic Use
    • Alternatives to Microplastics in Cosmetics
    • Alternatives to Plastic for Carry-Out Bags
    • Alternatives to Plastic Packaging
    • Alternatives to Plastic Cutlery and Dishware
    • Alternatives to Plastic Straws
    • Sustainable Designs
    • Summary of Plastic Reduction
  • Sustainable Plastics Industry-Recycled Plastics
    • Choice of Sustainable Plastic
    • Recycled Plastics Overview and Trends
    • Drivers for Recycled Plastics
    • Drivers for Recycled Plastics Explained
    • Restraints for Recycled Plastics
    • Restraints for Recycled Plastics Explained
    • Recycled Thermoplastics Industry-Revenue Forecast
      • Table Recycled Thermoplastics Industry: Revenue Forecast, Global, 2017-2026
    • Recycled Thermoplastics Industry-Volume Forecast
      • Table Recycled Thermoplastics Industry: Unit Shipment Forecast, Global, 2017-2026
    • Recycled Thermoplastics Industry-Volume Shipment Share Forecast by Polymer
    • Recycled Thermoplastics Industry-Revenue by Region
      • Table Recycled Thermoplastics Industry: Revenue Forecast by Region, Global, 2017-2026
    • Recycled Thermoplastics Industry-Price Forecast
      • Table Recycled Thermoplastics Industry: Price Forecast, Global, 2017-2026
    • Current Industry Information-Price by Resin
      • Table Thermoplastics Industry: Price Comparison by Polymer, Global, 2018
    • Recycled Plastics Industry Information-Price Analysis
      • Table Recycled Thermoplastics Industry: Sample Polyamide Price by Product, Global, 2018
    • Thermoplastics Industry-Recycled Plastics by Resin
    • Thermoplastic Properties
    • HDPE Industry-Applications
    • Recycled HDPE Industry Overview
    • Recycled HDPE Industry-Revenue Forecast
      • Table Recycled HDPE Industry: Revenue and Volume Forecast, Global, 2017-2026
    • Recycled HDPE Industry-rHDPE Manufacturers
    • LDPE Industry-Applications
    • Recycled LDPE Industry-Overview
    • LDPE Industry-Revenue Forecast
      • Table Recycled LDPE Industry: Revenue and Volume Forecast, Global, 2017-2026
    • Recycled LDPE Industry-rLDPE Manufacturers
    • PET Industry-Applications
    • Recycled PET Industry-Overview
    • Recycled PET Industry-Revenue Forecast
      • Table Recycled PET Industry: Revenue and Volume Forecast, Global, 2017-2026
    • Recycled PET Industry-rPET Manufacturers
    • PP Industry-Applications
    • Recycled PP Industry-Overview
    • Recycled PP Industry-Revenue Forecast
      • Table Recycled PP Industry: Revenue and Volume Forecast, Global, 2017-2026
    • Recycled PP Industry-rPP Manufacturers
    • PVC Industry-Applications
    • Recycled PVC Industry-Overview
    • Recycled PVC Industry-Revenue Forecast
      • Table Recycled PVC Industry: Revenue and Volume Forecast, Global, 2017-2026
    • Recycled PVC Industry-rPVC Manufacturers
    • PA Industry-Applications
    • Recycled PA Industry-Overview
    • Recycled PA Industry-Revenue Forecast
      • Table Recycled PA Industry: Revenue and Volume Forecast, Global, 2017-2026
    • Recycled PA Industry-rPA Manufacturers
    • PS Industry-Applications
    • Recycled PS Industry-Overview
    • Recycled PS Industry-rPS Manufacturers
    • ABS Industry-Applications
    • Recycled ABS Industry-Overview
    • Recycled ABS Industry-rABS Manufacturers
    • PC Industry-Applications
    • Recycled PC Industry-Overview
    • Recycled PC Industry-rPC Manufacturers
    • Acrylic Industry-Applications
    • Recycled Acrylic Industry-Overview
    • Recycled Acrylic Industry-Manufacturers
    • TPE Industry-Applications
    • TPE Industry-Resin Comparison
    • TPE-Sustainability
    • High-Performance Resin Industry
    • Recycled Thermoplastic Industry-Top Recycling Companies
    • Recycled Thermoplastic Industry-Top Product Specifications
    • Regional Recycling Variations-North America
      • Table Plastics in Municipal Waste: Total Plastics Landfilled, Recycled and Combusted with Energy Recovery, US, 1960-2015
    • Regional Recycling Variations-North American Processors
    • Regional Recycling Variations-Europe
    • Regional Recycling Variations-European Industry Leaders
    • Regional Recycling Variations-Asia
    • Regional Recycling Variations-Asian Industry Leaders
    • Regional Variations-ROW
  • Sustainable Plastics Industry-Bioplastics
    • Choice of Sustainable Plastic
    • Bioplastics Industry-Types of Bioplastics
    • Biodegradable Plastics Overview
    • Drivers for Bioplastics
    • Drivers for Bioplastics Explained
    • Restraints for Bioplastics
    • Restraints for Bioplastics Explained
    • Bioplastics Industry-Revenue Forecast
      • Table Bioplastics Industry: Revenue Forecast, Global, 2017-2026
    • Bioplastics Industry-Volume Forecast
      • Table Bioplastics Industry: Volume Forecast, Global, 2017-2026
    • Bioplastics Industry-Revenue Forecast by Resin Type
      • Table Bioplastics Industry: Revenue Forecast by Resin, Global, 2017-2026
    • Bioplastics Industry-Volume Forecast by Resin Type
      • Table Bioplastics Industry: Volume Forecast by Resin, Global, 2017-2026
    • Bioplastics Industry-Revenue Forecast by Region
      • Table Bioplastics Industry: Revenue Forecast by Region, Global, 2017-2026
    • Bioplastics Industry-Pricing Trends
      • Table Bioplastics Industry: Pricing Forecast by Resin, Global, 2017-2026
    • Global Pricing Trends for Bioplastics
    • Bioplastics Industry-Volume Share by Application
    • Bioplastics Industry-PLA
    • Bioplastics Industry-PLA Revenue Forecast
      • Table PLA Industry: Revenue and Volume Forecast, Global, 2017-2026
    • Bioplastics Industry-PHA
    • Bioplastics Industry-PHA Revenue Forecast
      • Table PHA Industry: Revenue and Volume Forecast, Global, 2017-2026
    • Bioplastics Industry Challenges
    • Bioplastics Industry-Challenges Explained
    • Bioplastics Industry-Key Challenges and Barrier- Breaking Implications
    • Bioplastics Industry-Competitive Factors
  • Regulatory Overview, Environmental Issues, and Industry Challenges
    • Regulatory Overview
    • Bans on Single-Use Plastics
    • EU Strategy on Plastics
    • Regulations on Recycling
    • Regulations on Bioplastics
    • Regulations on Biodegradable Plastics
    • US Regulations on Sustainable Plastics
    • Regulatory Enforcement
  • Summary and Conclusions
    • Industry Trends
    • Industry Outlook
  • Growth Opportunities and Calls to Action
    • Growth Opportunity 1-Automated Sorting
    • Growth Opportunity 2-Bottle-to-Bottle Recycling
    • Growth Opportunity 3-Recycling Reinforced Plastics
    • Growth Opportunity 4-Recycling High-Value Plastics
    • Growth Opportunity 5-Cost-Effective Depolymerization
    • Growth Opportunity 6-Marine and Landfill Biodegradation for Single-Use Plastics
    • Growth Opportunity 7-Improve Worldwide Recycling Infrastructure
    • Growth Opportunity 8-Vertical Integration
    • Growth Opportunity 9-Closed-Loop Recycling
    • Growth Opportunity 10-Ocean Plastic Collection
    • Other Growth Opportunities in the Sustainable Plastics Industry
    • Strategic imperatives for Growth of the Sustainable Plastics Industry
  • The Last Word
    • The Last Word-The Future of Sustainable Plastic
    • The Last Word-3 Big Predictions
  • Appendix
    • Abbreviations
    • Links to Selected Secondary Sources

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