Recycled Plastic Market

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Recycled Plastic Market - Trends

Some current and future trends in the recycled plastics market include increasing demand for recycled plastics globally, development of enzymes to aid plastic degradation, use of robots in recycling, development of a circular economy or market for plastics, and the use of satellite to facilitate recycling efforts.


Increasing Demand for Recycled Plastics

  • There is an increase in the demand for recycled plastics, especially in the packaging market. As people become more aware of the need to reduce the global carbon footprint, waste, and energy use, the demand for recycled plastic has increased, and this demand is driving the growth in the recycled plastic market which is currently growing at a CAGR of 6%, according to Market Reports World.
  • This a current trend that is affecting the recycled plastic market.
  • We determined that it is a trend because the trend was reported by Market Reports World, Reports and Data, and Technavio.
  • Companies demonstrating this trend include B. Schoenberg & Co. Inc., Envision Plastics, Imerys SA, and KW Plastics, among others.

Use of Robots

  • Robots are now being used to recycle plastics in some countries and emerging reports suggests that they are more efficient than humans in sorting out plastic wastes for recycling. Although current recycling models use a lot of water to wash plastics being recycled, robots, technologies, and solutions are being developed that can clean plastics with minimal water or zero use of water.
  • This is both a current and a future trend with reports emerging this year that it is already being implemented, however, the current technology is only about 63% — 85% accurate and more accurate robots are expected in the future that will have a bigger impact.
  • It was determined that it is a trend given that the trend was reported recently by trusted sources such as Industry Today, CNBC, and Engadget.
  • The robot is being used in the US and Apple has also developed a similar robot.

Using Satellite to Identify Plastic

  • Organizations and governments are either already using satellite to identify plastic waste to be recycled, or have announced that will do so in the near future. For instance, Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit firm, is already developing solutions and technologies that will enable them clear plastics from marine environments with the aid of satellite imaging, and the European Space Agency (ESA) has announced that they will use geo-satallite imaging to find and recycle huge plastic dumps.
  • This a trend that is expected to have a major impact on the plastic recycling market in the future.
  • It was determined that it is a trend given that the trend was reported recently by trusted sources such as Industry Today, Silicon Republic, and ITU News.
  • Ocean Cleanup and the EU are already developing solutions and technologies in this regard.

Circular Economy

  • There is a gradual shift from the use-and-dispose approach to a circular model where plastics are recycled and used as much as possible. The circular economy is about ensuring that products are designed to be recycled, which "minimizes the use of raw materials, energy and water and reprocesses materials into new products rather than simply throwing them away."
  • This is a current trend that keeps attracting regional signatories and is expected to grow in the future as more companies and countries sign-on.
  • It was determined that it is a trend given that the trend was reported recently by trusted sources such as McKinsey, Smithers, and Washington Post.
  • Companies that have adopted this approach include Nestlé, Asda, Premier Foods, P&G, Waitrose, Coveris, Suez, and the BPF. Countries/regions where this approach is practiced include the UK, the EU, Mexico, and a few countries in Asia-Pacific.

Using Enzyme to Breakdown Plastic

  • An enzyme called Petase is being developed by scientists that will hasten the breakdown of plastic into smaller, biodegradable parts. Bacteria able to eat plastic using enzymes were first discovered in Japan and scientist in the US were able to discover an even more potent enzyme accidentally when studying the bacteria.
  • This trend will have a bigger impact in the future once the enzyme production is perfected.
  • It was determined that it is a trend given that the trend was reported recently by trusted sources such as Science Alert, Smithers, and the BBC.
  • Scientists in the US are at the forefront of developing and perfecting the enzyme.

Research Strategy

To find some current and future trends in the recycled plastics market, our research team analyzed several plastic recycling trend reports from market research databases, trusted industry analysis, and media reports. We then selected trends that appeared in at least three independent reports and reported on the trends above.