Positive Growth For Plastics Industry

There is still much confusion about the role that plastics will play in engineering, manufacturing and industry in the future. The material has always had both vociferous advocates and its fair share of detractors, but with brand new, environmentally-sound plastics hitting the market all the time and with the levels of plastic in the ocean now dropping rather than rising, it seems that it is only a matter of time before those with an axe to grind where plastics are concerned are brought around.


Scientists recently tried to map the amount of plastic floating in our oceans and found that levels were far lower than expected. Whilst the reasons for this are still unclear, there are a host of different theories, and not only are levels falling out in the ocean, but the amount heading for landfills is also falling dramatically, with far more types of plastic now being widely recycled.


Whilst plastic waste and pollution are dropping significantly, its potential is quickly rising, as is growth within the industry. Not only are intuitive new plastics being produced that can heal themselves using space-age polymers (and in turn allow plastic goods to be used for far longer) but the demand for plastic across the world is also growing significantly.

Another piece of good news for those in Europe is that the industry is expanding here at home and not just over in Asia. Between 2012 and 2013, the global production of plastics rose by nearly 4% from 288m tonnes up to 299m tonnes. And whilst China still leads the way, Europe is very close behind, producing 20% of the world’s plastic last year.

For the detractors of a united Europe, the figures prove just how effective the union can be where industry is concerned, and the plastics sector is thriving in spite of strong global competition. Our demand for plastics is increasing at a slower rate than our production of it too, with only a 0.1% rise in usage throughout Europe over the same period. As such, exports have been the main driver of production, proving that Europe is helping lead the way in the global marketplace.


Engineering plastics are growing at a very significant rate, often replacing more traditional construction materials, being cheaper and more effective than the many other alternatives currently on the market. By 2020, it has been predicted that the engineering plastics industry alone will be valued at £55 billion worldwide.

So whilst it once looked as though the materials we regularly used and the way they were fabricated would need to change to mitigate the damage done to the environment, and whilst it seemed plastic would one day need to be replaced with more ecologically-sound alternatives, the industry has risen to a tough challenge, and ensured that plastics have evolved to a place where they are more appealing than ever. With European exports growing significantly year on year and with further opportunities available for expansion with the emergence of new markets, plastics are very much alive – and thriving in a very positive way.

Author Bio: Alan Holmes is a freelance writer and blogger. He regularly writes articles about engineering and the plastics industry, using sites such as AI International to keep up with all the latest industry news and developments.

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