Recycled PET Bottles Market – A Greener Future for Plastic
Initiatives taken by the governments of numerous countries by legislating stringent environmental norms have incited a shift among manufacturers, away from the production of plastic, to its recycling, which has offered momentum to the recycled PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) market. This further led to the high use of recycled PET for the production of bottles for packaging a broad array of beverages and consumer goods, such as water, soft drinks, detergents, cosmetics, and edible oils, among others.
As consumers leading a demanding lifestyle evince a high proclivity for packaged drinks, manufacturers of food and beverages operate amidst the confined boundaries of environmental regulations to use recycled PET (r-PET) bottles. Leading beverages producers – Coca-Cola and PepsiCo – have been focusing on achieving reduced waste by launching campaigns and drives that are intended at educating consumers regarding the benefits of recycling.
Sensing the growing adoption trends, Transparency Market Research (TMR), in its recent study, identifies lucrative opportunities for stakeholders to leverage and gain a competitive edge in the recycled PET bottles market.
Charting the Evolution of the Recycled PET Bottles Market
Heaps and piles of plastic waste mounting at an exponential rate, given the infiltration of plastic in numerous industries, have encouraged environmentalists to flag the issue on a global level. This has led to the fast replacing of PET bottles with r-PET bottles, and sensing this upward demand trend, manufacturers have been striving to integrate recycling processes in their manufacturing hubs to conform to the norms and sustain their businesses. In 2018, recycled PET bottles recorded a volume sales of ~ 1.43 million tons, equating to a value of ~ US$ 2 Bn.
In recent times, automation has become integral to recycling processes, and has increased efficiency by systematically processing and sorting plastic for the production of bottles. The growing transition to a circular economy to reduce resources, working on the ‘make-use-dispose’ concept, in order to optimize the value of products through recycling and reusing, is likely to lead the shift of a majority of PET bottle manufacturers towards recycled PET bottles. As the food industry no longer remains the only consumer of recycled PET bottles, demand from the consumer goods industry will upkeep their steady sales during the forecast period.
Exponential Improvements in the Adoption of Non-food Grade Recycled PET Bottles
The adoption of r-PET bottles remains high in the packaging of beverages, owing to the light weight of PET, its stability, and biological inertness. As scrutiny in the food and beverage segment turns stringent, manufacturers focus on enhancing the ‘resistance to microorganisms’ competency of their recycled PET bottles. However, as manufacturers of consumer goods realize the high density and high strength of r-PET as compared to PET, an exponential increase has been spectated in the adoption of recycled PET bottles for the packaging of non-food products such as shampoo, mouthwash, detergents, and pharmaceuticals, among others.
With the high consumption of bottled water and energy drinks, environmental sustainability implications require manufacturers of food and beverages in tandem with the packaging industry to bring amendments into their business processes and shrink the carbon footprint. In contrast to developing countries, recycling facilities in developed countries such as the U.S. are highly advanced, which is likely to reflect on the growing regional market share of North America.
Though the recycled PET bottles market has been growing at a steady CAGR of ~ 8%, lack of proper infrastructural facilities for the collection and sorting of discarded plastic has been disrupting the speed of PET recycling. In addition, colored or contaminated plastic makes the recycling of PET difficult, which drives these materials towards waste streams.
Recycled PET Bottles Market – Key Strategies to Move to Higher Value Share
- Prioritize Recycling of Clear r-PET Bottles
As manufacturers of consumer goods strive to distinguish their products on the shelves by experimenting with brand colors, the volume sales of colored r-PET bottles are likely to remain relatively high. Though high in price, clear bottles offer cost-effective recycling, which is likely to fuel their adoption rate during the forecast period. Manufacturers can capitalize on this growing adoption trend by integrating recycling processes specific to clear recycled r-PET bottles, and strengthen their position in the market.
- Integrate Chemical-based Recycling Process
Currently, the mechanical recycling process has been largely integrated for the recycling of PET bottles. Such methods are deemed cost-effective and offer multiple lifecycles to PET. However, with every new cycle, PET loses its properties and encounters the effect of time. As manufacturers seek process efficiency, the chemical recycling process can be integrated to simplify and optimize the existing process.
- Leverage Forward Integration
With medium to high competition intensity in the r-PET bottles market, distribution and sales channels will play a crucial role in aiding manufacturers in growing their revenue share. This unlocks huge potential for advancing businesses along the supply chain. Manufacturers having a production facility can expand their reach in new markets by establishing distribution hubs to take control of the demand side.
Recycled PET Bottles Market – Competitive Landscape
The r-PET bottles market functions under a moderate degree of consolidation. Collectively, the top players – ALPLA Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH & Co KG, Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited, and CarbonLITE Industries LLC – account for ~ 34% of the total share of the recycled PET bottles market.
The introduction of new products by fostering innovation and venturing into new regions are the key strategies followed by global players. For instance, in March 2019, ALPLA Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH & Co KG and Fromm Holding AG announced their PET recycling joint venture – PET Recycling Team Wolfen GmbH – at the Wolfen location. Prominent players primarily focus on the processing of various kinds of polymers and convert them into commodities.
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Though r-PET is one of its kind, the low manufacturing cost of PET coupled with the high switching cost is likely to remain a threat for manufacturers. Besides the threat of substitutes, new entrants are likely to offer a medium to high level of threat to existing market players, owing to the multi-dimensional applications surfacing for the packaging of food and non-food products.