AMI: Global mechanical recycling expected to grow to 77 million t by 2030 despite Covid-19 slowdown 2020 – 2022

AMI (Applied Market Information Ltd) has announced the release of its new report “The Global Mechanical Plastics Recycling Industry 2020 – Capacities, Capabilities and Future Trends”. According to the company, 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.

End use applications for global recyclate 2019 (Source: AMI)

AMI said 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 t 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. 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 report Plastic Recycling in Europe (2018), the 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 is said to deliver 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.