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Use of Post-Consumer Recycled Materials on the Rise

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

This past month, Apple made a pledge to the world. The tech firm grandly announced that it would start making its products such that they deliver zero impact to the environment.


In its recent annual environmental report, Apple said it was nicely on track to make good on its "closed-loop supply chain" objective. When it does, the iconic iPhone and iPad will be made entirely from recycled and renewable material. And the massive Silicon Valley organization will mine the earth no longer.


This is a big development, and it has the potential for a meaningful impact in the manufacturing world. The more recycled content that finds its way into supply lines, the less damage we inflict on the planet.

General Motors is another company that's made a commitment to upping the recycled content in its manufacturing process. One of its material engineers recently opined on the subject. In a blog post, Matthew Vandyke focused his message on the need to revisit our kneejerk association between recycled materials and inferior materials. He encourages fellow manufacturers to keep an open mind about those opportunities in which recycled materials might be incorporated.


It takes an open mind to look for new areas and places recycled materials can be incorporated, something Matthew Vandyke makes clear. He also approaches the thought process by remembering recycled doesn't always mean inferior.


Approaches like these have led to GM's programs to recycle water bottles at its facilities and using the final product to manufacture engine insulation for its engines. At the same time, the other materials are sent off to become coats for the homeless. GM also looks for discarded tires to recycle and use in its manufacturing process.


As for moving forward, Vandyke says it best. Even as we continue to use large amounts of recycled plastics in the automotive industry, there is still an overwhelming amount that is underutilized and potentially landfilled. I encourage us all to think about using recycled plastics whenever possible to continue the trends that have already been started.


Packaging products made of eco-friendly material are gaining popularity as market players are adapting to sustainable packaging methods. Products and materials sold in the consumer markets, which have served their intended purpose or completed their life cycle, are sent to material recovery facilities (MRF's). Packaging products made of plastic materials recovered from MRFs contribute to the category of post-consumer recycled plastic packaging.


One of the prominent materials being recycled is PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic. PET plastic is the most widely used and accepted plastic, as it is quite easy to recycle and can be recycled more than once, thus promoting the post-consumer recycled plastic packaging market. Recycled products have many environmental benefits and are being preferred by manufacturers adopting sustainable principles. The increased demand for packaging products produced using recycled content has also propelled the post-consumer recycled plastic packaging market.


Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic Packaging Market- Market Dynamics:


A major factor supporting the post-consumer recycled plastic packaging market's growth is the improved material sorting infrastructure across many significant regions like the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe. The global market for post-consumer recycled plastic packaging is witnessing the incorporation of new material processing technologies to manufacture post-consumer recycled products and materials. The lightweight nature of recycled plastic is another factor fuelling the growth of the post-consumer recycled plastic packaging market. The growth of the post-consumer recycled plastic packaging market is propelled by certain properties of recycled plastic, such as strength and crack-resistance. Another prominent factor promoting the growth of the post-consumer recycled plastic packaging market is the environmentally friendly property of the plastic.


However, the shortfall in supply has restricted the growth prospects for the post-consumer recycled plastic packaging market. FDA regulations applicable to the packaging of food products across geographic regions are a matter of concern for market players operating in the global post-consumer recycled plastic packaging market.


Manufacturers are identifying new infrastructure for segregating and collecting mixed plastics at the recovery facilities to implement appropriate sorting mechanisms. The effectiveness of the selection process plays a vital role in the amount of material recovered in these facilities.


Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic Packaging Market- Market Segmentation:


The post-consumer recycled plastic packaging market can be segmented based on product type, material type, process type, and end-use. Based on product type, the post-consumer recycled plastic packaging market can be segmented into bottles, cups, containers (jars and tubs), bags, clamshells, and blister packs. Mostly all the recycled plastic packaging products are thermoformed, and the FDA approved products are even safe for direct food contact. Based on material type, the post-consumer recycled plastic packaging market can be segmented into PET (polyethylene terephthalate), HDPE (high-density polyethylene), and PP (polypropylene). PET plastic is expected to be the major contributor due to its abundance availability and ease in processing technology.


Based on process type, the post-consumer recycled plastic packaging market can be segmented into mechanical (melting and refining) process and chemical process. Based on end-use, the post-consumer recycled plastic packaging market can be segmented into beverage (bottle and dairy products), electronics, home care, pharmaceuticals, and personal care.


Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic Packaging Market- Regional Outlook:


Geographically, the post-consumer recycled plastic packaging market is segmented into five key regions: North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa (MEA). North America is the leading manufacturer of the post-consumer recycled plastic packaging market, as the U.S. and Canada have taken major steps to initiate material sorting infrastructures in the regions and are anticipated to see healthy growth. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to see significant growth over the forecast period, driven by developments in China and India.

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