News & Insights

How is the Global Plastic Recycling Market is Reaching Newer Heights in Today’s World?

Published: April 9, 2021
Author: Manali bhanushali

Abstract: The global plastic recycling market is witnessing growth like never before due to growing awareness about the importance of plastic recycling among people. Maximum of plastic waste is exported to countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam for recycling purposes. Moreover, the annual plastic production worldwide has enhanced from 1.5 million metric tons in 1950 to 359 billion metric tons in 2018. In addition, environmental issues related to plastic waste will fuel the growth of the market in the coming years.

Environment’s biggest enemy is considered as carbon which is available in several forms such as carbon monoxide, coal, graphite, diamond, petroleum products such as gasoline, and plastics. Out of these, plastics have been posing a threat to the environment as it is a non-degradable product and remains in the nature for a longer duration.

Discovery of Plastic

The first synthetic polymer was discovered in the year 1869 by John Wesley Hyatt, who was motivated by a New York firm’s offer of $10,000 for providing a substitute for ivory products. Hyatt invented a plastic that was made from cellulose and had the ability to take several shapes. Moreover, this plastic could imitate natural substances such as horn, tortoiseshell, ivory, and linen. After Hyatt, in 1907, Leo Baekeland discovered Bakelite, a synthetic plastic that was untouched by natural molecules. These discoveries paved way for many researchers to indulge in creating new forms of plastic that we know in today’s time.

Insights on the Global Plastic Recycling Market

According to a report published by Research Dive, the global plastic recycling market is estimated to flourish at a CAGR of 6.5% from 2019 to 2026 timeframe. Government rules and regulations to minimize plastic waste is responsible for the growth of the plastic recycling industry in the recent years. For instance, the draft of National Resource Efficiency Policy 2019, proposed by the ministry of environment (India), outlines a 3 year resource management action plan for seven sectors that contribute approximately 25% of the nation’s income. The draft includes a target of 75% to 90% recycling rate for vehicles, based on yearly manufacturing capacity. Also, the draft mentions establishment of 20 official vehicle dismantlers in the urban areas in 2020.

Apart from this, rising environmental concerns are also predicted to fuel the growth of the plastic recycling market in the coming years. For instance, as per reports uploaded by, the annual plastic production worldwide has grown from 1.5 million metric tons in 1950 to 359 billion metric tons in 2018. Plastic is a major problem; despite the availability of recycling units, much of the plastic ends up in the landfills and water supplies, developing a hazardous environment. For example, the Great Pacific garbage patch is an area in the Pacific Ocean with plastic stretching for more than a million square kilometers. It can take almost hundreds of years for plastic degradation in the water bodies; with time, micro plastic fragments can infest the environment and may also enter the bodies of living creatures.

Key Highlights of Plastic Waste Generated Worldwide:


The growing awareness among people about the importance of plastic recycling and usage of recycled products over the conventional ones is also bolstering the growth of the global plastic recycling market in the forthcoming years. For instance, DEWA (Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Company), owned by Mai Dubai, is engaging schools in the UAE to create awareness on the importance of recycling plastic water bottles. The bottles will be turned into PE kits and uniforms. Clothing generated from recycled plastic averts landfills and offers a sustainable alternative towards environment protection and clothing production.

Source: HIS Markit

Furthermore, rise in usage of recycled plastic items in a variety of end-user industries such as packaging, automotive, electronics, and much more is driving the growth of the global market in the coming years.

New Ventures Taken Up by the Market Players

The well-established players of the global plastic recycling market are initiating several projects, product developments, financing research & development projects, and acquiring companies for gaining an upper edge in the global market. For instance, in February 2021, EcoEx, a start-up in the plastic waste management field, launched a digital market place in India for the first time, to strengthen plastic recycling infrastructure and facilitate exchange of plastic credit certificates. Apart from this, in the same month, Verra, a verified carbon standard, introduced ‘Plastic Waste Reduction Standard’ that aids companies to maximize their efforts to decrease plastic footprint during operations. Furthermore, in October 2020, Dow Chemical International Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai, revealed Rethink+, which is a digital waste management platform. This initiative is a plastic takedown program that targets to avert postconsumer plastic scrap from going to the landfills.

Regional Conditions of the Market

The North American plastic recycling market is estimated to experience tremendous growth in the coming years due to government initiatives for developing recycling plants. For instance, the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) report published in January 2020 stated for the expansion and creation of new recycling facilities. This includes 10 expanding and 15 new plastic recycling facilities.

The Asia-Pacific region is considered to import plastic waste in bulk for recycling purposes due to favorable government rules and availability of human resource, thus driving the global plastic recycling market. Malaysia is currently at the top for importing plastic waste from countries such as the United States, U.K, and Japan for recycling. However, an article on the cites that when Asia countries like China gets hold of the items that are not recycled, from the U.S., ends up in the landfills or in a storage facility. Till 2018, China was the biggest importer of plastic waste but announced to ban the import of waste thereafter. Due to this, other Asian countries saw a rise in plastic waste shipping. According to UN Comtrade, Indonesia saw a 250% hike in the imports and Vietnam’s plastic consumption raised more than ten folds since 1990.

Future Scope and Opportunities

Continuous growth in the research and development activities by the key market players and government to generate eco-friendly and bio-degradable recycled plastics is a massive growth opportunity for the market. Moreover, efforts by several environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, UN environmental program, Sierra Club, and many more are on the verge to promote plastic recycling for a greener future.


Author’s Bio:

Chaitali Avadhani is currently working in the content writing industry and has a Master’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Savitribai Phule Pune University. She is naturally attracted towards writing and is harboring experiences in the same field. Apart from this, she is a certified mountaineer and has passed out from Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling. Outside the office she is actively engaged in fitness activities such as running, cycling, martial arts, and trekking.

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