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Global mechanical recycling expected to grow to 77 million tonnes by 2030

AMI's new report 2020

The plastics mechanical recycling industry has never been under the spotlight to such an extent as it is today. Sustainability is ever more relevant across all societies and geographies, as a result plastics waste is at the forefront of many regional and national policy debates in the drive towards a more circular global economy.

Accordingly, the issue of waste is on the policy agenda of national governments around the globe, with new policies and legislation bringing new targets for the recycling of plastics.

The Biggest Paradigm Shift the Industry Has Ever Seen

The biggest paradigm shift the industry has ever seen, came when in March 2017, China implemented its National Sword Policy aiming to crack down on imports of contaminated foreign waste. Where once China imported over 7 million tonnes of plastic waste, imports reduced to less than a fifth of these volumes. This policy has proven to have a sustained impact on the global plastics recycling industry. As nations grappled with the challenge of finding alternative export markets for their waste, new opportunities arose for countries willing to accept the waste import volumes China used to service. South-East Asia subsequently became the new growth hub for plastics recycling, with new recyclate production capacity springing up. However, as quickly as it came, it appears to be leaving, as South-East Asian countries introduce their own bans on waste imports, cutting off the supply of feedstock for recyclers.

© AMI 2020

Domestic Demand, Creating National Self-Sufficiency

As the recycling industry restructures itself and settles down following the Chinese National Sword Policy, it is clear that the reliance of countries on being able to export their waste, along with recyclers dependence on imports for feedstock, cannot be guaranteed. The only truly sustainable solution is for domestic waste collection and recycling infrastructure to be adequate to deal with the domestic demand, creating national self-sufficiency.

Following on from AMI’s highly successful report Plastic Recycling in Europe (2018), AMI’s brand new study The Global Mechanical Recycling Industry quantifies the global market for mechanical recycling, analysing the supply and demand balance, along with an evaluation of current production by region. A detailed review of the end-use applications for recyclate has been given, with an examination of potential future absorption.

Impact of the coronavirus pandemic is explicitly incorporated into both the short term and long-term forecasts contained within the study. A working methodology and framework to consider specific polymer and end-use markets is provided and explained to provide insight in relation to the comprehensive data series contained within the study.

The study, The Global Mechanical Plastics Recycling Industry 2020 – Capacities, Capabilities and Future Trends is relevant to all those involved in the plastics industry value chain, from resin producer through to brand owners/end users of plastic products. The report delivers a comprehensive quantitative assessment of the current industry situation and forecasts where this critical aspect of the global plastics industry will go in the future.

Additional information
  • 07-21-2020

    Recycling of Polyurethane

    Project RePURpose Develops New Method

    Together with partners, the Danish polyurethane manufacturer Tinby has launched a project that aims to create a completely new recycling economy for polyurethane.   more

  • The Invention of Plastics Recycling
    Kunststoffe international 2020/05, PAGE 17 - 20

    The Invention of Plastics Recycling

    Industrial Plastics Processing Brought Technology Developers to the Scene Early on

    The reuse of plastics waste began also with the industrial production and processing of polymer materials in the early 1950s. At first it...   more

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