As the economy strengthens and manufacturing and production pick up demand for plastics & rubber products is expected to grow. According to data from the Interindustry Economic Research Fund (IERF), revenue for U.S. plastics & rubber products manufacturing is forecast to grow at an annual compounded rate of 5 percent between 2015 and 2019.
US demand for clean, recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic is surpassing supply, according to the National Association for PET Container Resources. While recycling rates for PET plastic continue to climb, the rate of usable PET per bale of recycled plastic is in decline. Single-stream recycling efforts lead to a higher rate of contamination per bale, and PET packaging designs such as shrink or barrier labels can make packaging more difficult to recycle. The trend of lightweight packaging has also resulted in the need to sort and process a higher volume of material to produce a pound of usable recycled PET flake. Supplies of recycled PET have also tightened amid rising demand from US consumers, as well as from exports markets. As a result, plastic container manufacturers that use recycled PET as a feedstock may alter packaging design to make products easier to sort and recycle. PET container companies that also operate plastics recycling processing plants may invest in more sophisticated sorting machinery to increase recycled PET recovery rates.
Posted by Jim Zipursky.