The North America plastic recycling market size was valued at USD 2.9 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.1% from 2021 to 2028. Changing consumer behavior towards sustainability is driving the market in North America. Increasing concerns related to plastic pollution, harmful emissions from the use of petrochemicals, and fluctuating crude oil prices have been driving the demand for plastic recycling. Increasing use of recycled plastics in several industries such as textiles, automotive, packaging, and electrical and electronics, and building and construction is anticipated to boost the demand for plastic recycling in the U.S. and Canada.
Rising concerns over the use of plastics, increasing demand for alternatives to conventional plastics have been observed in the market. End-use industries in the market are shifting their focus toward the use of recycled plastics owing to the reduced carbon footprint associated with the manufacturing process of recycled plastics as compared to virgin plastics. Companies are continuously developing product lines using recycled materials to address the concerns regarding the toxic effects of plastic waste. Lacerta Group, Inc., Reynolds Packaging, Rohrer Corporation, NIKE, Inc., Rothy's, Inc., and Hamilton Perkins Collection are some of the companies using recycled plastics in the region.
Several large, small, and medium-scale businesses have committed to using recycled or sustainably sourced materials for a specific period. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift has gained pace as it has severely affected the buying behavior of consumers and their preference while choosing the products and services. Consumers are now more conscious about the environmental impact, recyclability, and decomposition time of plastic products in landfills. This is likely to compel customers to buy products made from recycled plastics over those made from conventional plastics.
Increasing government investment in advanced plastics recycling technologies is anticipated to create lucrative opportunities for market players in North America. For instance, in October 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the funding of USD 27 million for 12 projects that are likely to support the development of advanced plastics recycling technologies. As part of DOE’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, these projects will help to improve the existing recycling processes that break plastics into chemical building blocks, which can further be used to make new products. These new projects are expected to support the objective through the development of energy-efficient recycling technology and help to reduce plastic waste in the environment in the coming years.
The Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) product segment led the market and accounted for more than 33.0% revenue share in 2020. Recycled PET is estimated to witness significant growth over the forecast period owing to ease of collection in the form of PET bottles. Polyethylene terephthalate is widely used in plastic bottles of soft drinks and containers for food and liquids. In addition, it is used in medical applications including sutures and vascular grafts. Thus, the increasing demand for PET in the above-mentioned application is fueling the growth of PET waste. This in turn is further projected to propel the growth of PET in plastic recycling.
In addition, the polyvinyl chloride segment is anticipated to witness steady growth during the forecast period. Polyvinyl chloride is found in rigid bottles, clamshells, flexible medical and bedding bags, shrink wrap, wire/cable insulation coated fabrics, and flooring. Sorting and separation are the major challenges in the recycling process of PVC. As different formulations composed of various additives are used to produce PVC plastic products, the separation of different types of plastics, fillers, and stabilized flame retardants is not easy. Furthermore, contamination with other waste streams such as polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene, and polyethylene with polyvinyl chloride carries a significant risk of releasing hydrochloric acid (HCI) at elevated temperatures. These issues associated with the recycling of PVC are negatively affecting its demand in the market.
The mechanical recycling segment led the market and accounted for the largest revenue share of more than 67.8% in 2020. The mechanical recycling process produces recycled plastics with very low emissions and reduces the carbon footprint of the company. It is used for both residential and industrial plastic waste. The process preserves the molecular structure. It mechanically crushes the plastic and remelts it into granulate. This granulate is then used to make new products in various industries such as automotive, textiles, electrical and electronics, packaging, and building and construction.
Chemical recycling primarily includes pyrolysis and hydrolysis of plastic waste. The recycled plastic produced from chemical recycling can be easily used as a replacement for virgin polymer as it includes processing temperatures above 300°C. The initial steps involved in chemical recycling are same as mechanical recycling such as collection, sorting, grinding, washing, and drying. The further steps involved in chemical recycling include pyrolysis and hydrolysis, followed by conversion into plastic pellets, fibers, and granules.
The packaging end-use segment led the market and accounted for the largest revenue share of more than 36.0% in 2020. The segment is anticipated to maintain its dominance over the forecast period. Recycled plastics are extensively utilized in packaging applications such as in food and non-food containers, beverage bottles, personal care products, household care products, and film and sheets, among others. Polyethylene terephthalate, polypropylene, polyethylene, and polystyrene are some of the major recycled plastics used for packaging.
The excellent shock-absorbing properties of plastic packaging make them ideal for the storage and transportation of fragile items such as electronics equipment, consumer goods, healthcare, and chemical products. Furthermore, properties such as excellent moisture resistance and thermal insulation offered by polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene, and polystyrene help retain the freshness of perishable products, such as seafood and fruits and vegetables.
The inclination of consumers toward sustainable packaging and increasing landfill issues in North America are compelling manufacturers to adopt recycled plastics for packaging. This in turn is further projected to create demand for plastic recycling in the region. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the packaging industry is expected to remain moderate over the forecast period. The demand for packaging in healthcare, electronic products, and food applications has increased significantly, while the demand for luxury, industrial, and B2B-transport packaging has declined on account of the slowdown in industrial operations.
The U.S. dominated the North America plastic recycling market and accounted for the largest revenue share of over 90.0% in 2020. Most of the plastic waste generated in the country is exported to other countries for recycling. After the recent ban on plastic waste imports in China, the U.S. has started exporting its plastic waste to Southeast Asian countries. Various cities in the U.S., such as Seattle, Phoenix, and Austin, have plastic recycling incentives, whereby, residents are charged for landfill waste streams and not the cost of recycling waste streams. Cities such as Charlotte, Houston, and Chicago are the least performing cities in terms of plastic recycling.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of recycled plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, and polyolefins in food packaging solutions. Polyethylene terephthalate, low-density polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, and polystyrene are the most common types of waste generated in the country. These plastics are used to produce food and beverage bottles, films and wraps, bottle caps, containers, and blister packs, among other products.
Several major companies such as Adidas America Inc., Everlane, Rothy, Vivobarefoot, United by Blue, and Nike, Inc. are engaged in the manufacturing of products from recycled plastics. In addition, rising demand for electric vehicles in the country is likely to augment the need for lightweight and durable components in order to enhance the efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint associated with vehicle manufacturing. This, in turn, is projected to propel market growth over the forecast period.
The market is highly characterized by the expansion and joint venture strategies opted by plastic recycling companies across the region. In addition, major players in the market compete based on their application development capabilities and emerging technologies used in plastic recycling. Established players such as Agilyx are investing in research and development activities to formulate new and advanced recycling techniques to gain a competitive edge in the market.
In December 2020, Agilyx and Braskem announced their collaboration to examine an efficient pathway to produce polypropylene (PP) using difficult-to-recycle mixed waste plastic utilizing the former’s advanced recycling technology. This project targets circular polypropylene with necessary properties to cater to demanding end-use applications such as food packaging, consumer, and hygienic products. Strategic partnerships, capacity expansions, and the development of new products are popular strategies adopted by most players operating in the market. Some of the prominent players in North America plastic recycling market include:
PLASTIPAK HOLDINGS, INC.
MBA Polymers Inc.
Market size value in 2021
USD 3.3 billion
Revenue forecast in 2028
USD 7.7 billion
CAGR of 13.1% from 2021 to 2028
Base year for estimation
2017 - 2019
2021 - 2028
Volume in kilotons, revenue in USD million, and CAGR from 2021 to 2028
Volume forecast, revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends
Product, process, end-use, country
Key companies profiled
Agilyx, Brightmark LLC; PLASTIPAK HOLDINGS, INC.; MBA Polymers Inc.; CUSTOM POLYMERS; UltrePET LLC; KW Plastics; Carbonlite Inc.; Seraphim Plastics; Post Plastic Inc.
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This report forecasts revenue and volume growth at regional and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2028. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the North America plastic recycling market report on the basis of product, process, end-use, and country:
Product Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)
Low Density Polyethylene
Linear Low-Density Polyethylene
Process Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)
End-use Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)
Building & Construction
Electrical & Electronics
Country Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)
b. The North America plastic recycling market size was estimated at USD 2,882.4 million in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 3,273.2 million in 2021.
b. The North America plastic recycling market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.1% from 2021 to 2028 to reach USD 7,734.4 million by 2028.
b. The polyethylene terephthalate (PET) segment dominated the North America plastic recycling market with a share of 33.0% in 2020. This is attributable to the ease of collection of waste plastic in the form of PET bottles.
b. Some key players operating in the North America plastic recycling market include Agilyx; Brightmark LLC; PLASTIPAK HOLDINGS, INC.; MBA Polymers Inc.; UltrePET LLC; KW Plastics among others.
b. Key factors that are driving the market growth include the inclination of consumers toward sustainable packaging and increasing landfill issues in North America are compelling manufacturers to adopt recycled plastics for packaging.
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