The global plastic recycling market refers to the industry that collects, processes, and converts used plastic products into new plastic materials. This market is driven by the growing concern for environmental sustainability and the need to reduce plastic waste. The plastic recycling industry helps reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills, oceans, and other natural environments, and it also conserves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
The plastic recycling market is composed of several segments, including collection, sorting, processing, and distribution. The collection segment involves the collection of used plastic products from various sources such as households, commercial and industrial establishments, and municipal waste. The sorting segment involves the segregation of different types of plastic materials based on their composition and properties. The processing segment involves the conversion of the sorted plastic materials into usable forms such as pellets or flakes, which can be used in the production of new plastic products. The distribution segment involves the sale and distribution of recycled plastic materials to manufacturers that use them in the production of new products.
Germany: Germany is widely regarded as a world leader in recycling, with a recycling rate of 56% for plastic packaging waste. The country has a well-established infrastructure for collecting and processing recyclable materials, and it has implemented strict regulations to ensure that manufacturers use recycled materials in their products.
Austria: Austria is another European country that is known for its advanced recycling practices, with a plastic packaging recycling rate of around 50%. The country has a decentralized waste management system, with many small-scale recycling facilities that process plastic waste locally.
South Korea: South Korea has one of the highest recycling rates in the world, with a plastic packaging recycling rate of around 34%. The country has invested heavily in recycling infrastructure and technology, and it has implemented policies to encourage manufacturers to use recycled materials.
Taiwan: Taiwan has a plastic recycling rate of around 55%, and the government has implemented a range of policies and initiatives to promote sustainable waste management practices. The country has a well-developed system for collecting and processing recyclable materials, and it has invested in new technologies to improve the efficiency of its recycling facilities.
Japan: Japan is a world leader in plastic recycling, with a recycling rate of around 84%. The country has a well-established infrastructure for collecting and processing plastic waste, and it has implemented policies to encourage manufacturers to use recycled materials.
China: Despite its reputation for being a major contributor to the world’s plastic waste problem, China has made significant strides in plastic recycling in recent years. The country has implemented a range of policies and initiatives to promote sustainable waste management practices, and it has invested in new technologies to improve the efficiency of its recycling facilities.
- In 2020, the global recycling rate for plastic packaging was 14%, meaning that only 14% of all plastic packaging produced was recycled. (Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation)
- The US recycling rate for plastic bottles was 29.1% in 2019, up from 28.9% in 2018. (Source: American Chemistry Council)
- In 2019, the recycling rate for aluminum cans in the US was 49.8%, up from 47.9% in 2018. (Source: Aluminum Association)
- In the European Union, the recycling rate for plastic packaging was 41.5% in 2018. (Source: Eurostat)
- In 2019, the UK’s overall recycling rate was 45.5%, up from 44.7% in 2018. (Source: UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
- According to the EPA, recycling and composting in the US prevented the release of 186 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2018, which is equivalent to taking over 39 million cars off the road for a year.
- A study by the World Economic Forum found that the global plastic waste generation is expected to increase from 260 million tons in 2016 to 460 million tons per year by 2030, which highlights the importance of improving recycling rates and reducing plastic waste.
How Bangladesh is Recycling Plastic Materials?
Bangladesh is one of the fastest-growing economies in South Asia, and the country has been working to address its growing plastic waste problem in recent years. While the country still faces several challenges such as a lack of infrastructure and technology for waste management, there are several initiatives underway to promote plastic recycling. Here are some examples:
- Informal Sector: A significant amount of plastic recycling in Bangladesh is carried out by the informal sector, which includes waste pickers and small-scale recyclers. These individuals collect plastic waste from households, streets, and landfills and sell it to recycling companies. Kamrangirchar, Lalbag, Islambag, Chawkbazar, Jatrabari, Narayangonj, Gazipur areas in Dhaka has the most recycling activities.
- Plastic Waste Management Policy: In 2020, the Bangladesh government approved a new policy on plastic waste management, which aims to reduce plastic waste generation, promote recycling, and regulate the production and use of single-use plastics. Large corporations like Unilever Bangladesh Limited & PRAN-RFL group has initiated large scale plastic recycling program.
- Plastic Recycling Startups: Several startups have emerged in Bangladesh in recent years that are focused on plastic recycling. These companies use innovative technologies and business models to recycle plastic waste and turn it into new products. For example, discarded plastic bags are transformed into synthetic rubber sheets for footwear.
- Awareness Campaigns: The government and various NGOs in Bangladesh have launched awareness campaigns to educate the public about the importance of plastic recycling and responsible waste management practices.
- Plastic Bag Ban: In 2002, Bangladesh became the first country in the world to ban single-use plastic bags. In 2020, a High Court order was issued to ban single-use plastic in coastal areas and in all hotels and motels across the country. While enforcement of the ban has been challenging, it has helped to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated in the country.
The plastic recycling market is expected to continue to grow in the coming years due to the increasing awareness of environmental sustainability and the implementation of regulations and policies aimed at reducing plastic waste. However, the market also faces several challenges such as low recycling rates, the lack of infrastructure and technology in some regions, and the low value of recycled plastic compared to virgin plastic. Nevertheless, innovations in recycling technology and increasing demand for sustainable materials are expected to drive the growth of the plastic recycling market in the future.