According to recent Smithers research, the increased use of disinfection wipes owing to COVID-19, as well as plastics-free demand from governments and consumers, as well as growth in industrial wipes, are driving strong demand for spunlace nonwoven materials through 2026.
Wipes are by far the most common end use for spunlace nonwovens; the pandemic-related spike in disinfecting wipes has further enhanced this. In 2021, the global consumption of spunlace is expected to be 1.6 million tonnes, or 39.6 billion m2, worth at $7.8 billion USD. According to a Smithers research, spunlace growth rates for 2021–26 are expected to be 9.1 percent (tonnes) and 8.1 percent.
The global push to reduce/eliminate plastics in wipes has resulted in the development of many new spunlace versions by 2021. Wipes will account for 65.6 percent of spunlace nonwovens usage by 2026. The research also emphasises how COVID-19 has been a short-term, intensive market driver, with the majority of its impact occurring in 2020-21. Demand is rebounding after seeing huge spikes in early 2021, resulting in a “correction” in demand.
The European Union’s single-use plastics rule was a driving force behind the decrease of plastics in nonwovens. Spunlace manufacturers are striving to create more sustainable alternatives to polypropylene. According to a recent European Union research, worldwide demand for more sustainable products will increase until 2026.
Flushable wipes goods in 2021 have been subjected to extensive testing and have been certified as compliant. The fourth edition of the INDA/EDANA Guidance Document for Assessing the Flushability of Nonwoven Disposable Products (abbreviated as GD4) has become more stringent in its attempt to establish testing that correctly simulates a wipe’s behaviour in various wastewater treatment systems. Most flushable baby wipes are devoid of plastics, and spunlace versions like WLS, CP wet, and HEA are beneficial in this market.
Products for general use, specialised food service, and healthcare are all examples of industrial wipes. The primary motivators for industrial wipes are cost and performance. In 2020, food service wipes were nearly totally phased out (along with restaurants, cafeterias and schools) As hospitals approached capacity, the usage of wipes in healthcare increased above typical levels. Some parts may take years to recover in some areas, but by 2022, use is expected to be near average.