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PIRA, Brussels 2005  Flexible Packaging 2005
PIRA 5th International Conference
19th-20th October 2005, Brussels Belgium


Film consumption summary

Out of a total consumption of plastics in the world estimated at 200 million tons in 2005, for plastics that take concrete shapes, exclusive of polymers in liquid form for paints, adhesives and binders, films are a very large segment, about 50 million tons, dominated by commodity plastics, essentially PE and PP, together about 33 million tons.

A tentative summary of the estimates for global film consumption arrived at in this report gives, for 2005, in tons:

World consumption of films in 2005, in thousands of tons:

Plastics Tons
Polyethylene total 33 000
Of which PE-LD films 11 000
               PE-LLD films 13 000
               PE-HD films 9 000
Polypropylene total 4 800
Of which OPP/BOPP films 3 700
                Cast PP films 1 100
PVC 800
PS 600
PET, PETG, PEN 2 200
Polyamides OPA 120
Polyamides cast and coex 200
Cellophane 70
Aluminium foil 1 500
Multilayer films 7 500
EVA higher grades 600
Ionomers 120
PVDC 135
Biodegradable films 70
Polyvinyl butyral 160


Total world plastic film consumption

Out of the grand total rounded above, the aluminium foil and the multilayers that are double counted and include materials that are not plastics, like papers, should be subtracted, but they are not a very large tonnage.

Therefore, the total world plastic films consumption arrived at is close to 50 million tons, which is, by far, the very largest end-use in the total world plastics of 200 million tons, or about one fourth of the total.

This very high film proportion in the total is much weighed by the polyolefin films, and particularly PE. Conversely, films are the major use of PE, all types, about half of these plastics, and polyethylenes are the very largest plastics in world total, about 70 million tons out of 200 million tons.

Geographical /economical consumption split

Out of these totals, the consumption split between the major geographical/economical areas of the world closely follows that of the plastics total, in the same proportions as for the main commodities.

These relative proportions are blurring, as more and more films are transported over deep sea international trade, reels are easy to carry. Film consumption as a rule means where the raw materials are extruded, and not where they end up for use by industrial or distribution customers.

As a very general rule of thumb, the film consumption in Europe and in North America are about equivalent, and together account for about 60 % of total world consumption, dwindling down to 50 % in the next five-ten years.

The relative consumption of North America and Europe is more important for the higher value materials and films, multilayers, barriers, metallized, as most of the rest of the world is less sophisticated and diversified, but it is catching up very fast.


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