INDIA AND THE GLOBAL
PLASTICS SUPPLY CHAIN, EMAP, LONDON 2004
Françoise Pardos, Pardos Marketing, February 2006
Plastics consumption is linked to the average Gross National Income,
GNI. And it also grows faster than GNI. In 2000, an average GNI of
$15,000 per capita, and more, means more than 60 kg of plastics per
capita. An average per capita GNI of $2,500 or less means less than
15 kg per capita.
The world GNI per capita average of $ 5 700 in 2000, means average
plastics consumption of 25 kg. In 2020, the average GNI of $ 6 800
per capita, will shifts to plastics consumption at over 70 kg per
Plastics have been a success story, for their unique
Plastics truly are miracle materials, infinite combinations of various
molecules, creating these multiple polymers, in the true heart of
matter. The main characteristic of plastics is to offer a combination
of many properties, none outstanding, but synergistic. Plastics can
be both, flexible glass and transparent metal.
The definition of plastics in this paper only includes solid
The future demand for plastics is driven:
- By the continuing demand of the developed economies, slower,
but based upon very large tonnage,
- By the build-up of the developing economies, a replay of the
last thirty years, with latest innovations.
All plastics applications develop in the emerging economies, as
a multiple in tonnage, by-passing all the intermediate steps of traditional
materials, for the immediate choice of the latest all plastic solutions.
Forecasts in plastics rely on end-uses and applications.
Plastics end-using industries in 2004, in % of total plastics consumption
are about split as follows:
|Building, public works
|Automobile and vehicles
Among the end-using industries, the active applications
In packaging, the fastest growing applications:
- PET bottles with barriers
- BOPP films
- All barriers, with nano composites
The main trends in packaging are:
- More plastics packaging, glass, paper, metal, down
- Shift to flexible packaging, lighter packages
- Search for single materials
- More functional packaging, smart labels
Flexible packaging is the huge and fastest growing market, particularly
for applications in food, beverage, consumer, healthcare, and industrial
Another driver for the packaging demand growth is the increasing
use of PET resins instead of PVC and PP because the latter two are
more expensive. With PP and PVC prices expected to continue to rise,
many more packaging producers could switch to PET resins, not only
for bottles but for wide-mouthed PET jars.
In building construction, there are:
- Huge demand in emerging countries
- Building and public works multiplied by 5, in China, India,
- 180 000 km of new roads in China to 2020, for instance.
The main trends in building construction are:
- Polyolefins replacing PVC in pipes
- Growth of windows, not only PVC
- Applications for wood and fiber composites
- Geomembranes and public works
- Increasing uses for waste of mixed plastics
In the electrical and telectronics industries, E/E
Half the world requires electrical networks
Demand for household first equipment everywhere
Major developments in telectronics, replacement and new, office,
telephones, audio-visual, VDUs
More competition between plastics, PP and engineering plastics win
In automobile and other vehicle industries
The growing car industry, just for private cars, that was 53 millions
in 2003 will be 100 millions in 2020, many with new energy.
More vehicles will be produced in the next 20 years than were manufactured
in the previous 110-year history of the automotive industry. The
past, present and future success of the private car is deeply linked
to individualism. The love affair with automobiles is really a love
affair with individual mobility. Why deny this deep motivation to
emerging countries people, on the false ground that the rich have
already polluted the planet?
The use of plastics per car will rise from 100 kg now, to 200 kg
+ in 2020, and cars will be lighter.
The fastest growing applications in cars are:
- Complete plastics inroads into gas tanks
- Complete plastics inroads under the hood
- Lights and glazing of plastics instead of glass
- Car bodies of plastics and new designs
There are many new ways for plastics in cars, like:
- Self-repairing bumpers
- New classes of smart plastics
- Coatings and films
- Paint-like finishes
In agriculture, there will be:
- Growth of more sophisticated techniques
- Fastest developments in films for greenhouses, tunnels, mulching,
- Both plain films and very functional films
- Irrigation and drip irrigation, and ways to make deserts blow
The major growth is to be in warmer countries, with at least 10-12
% annual growth
Taking an ecological vision, plastics can also
be split into three categories:
- Disposables, less than one year life, 75 million tons of plastics
in 2000, 200 million tons in 2020.
- Durables, 5-15 year life, 45 million tons of plastics in 2000,
140 million tons in 2020.
- Infrastructures, over 20 year life, 35 million tons of plastics
in 2000, 200 million tons in 2020.
Recycling, to give at least lip service.
Anyway, out of the millions of tons of oil, this miraculous product
distilled by Earth over eons of time, only 10 % is used as noble
raw material, to make plastics, fibers, rubber, paints, adhesives,
coatings, binders, detergents, and many more, with an extraordinary
added value between production and end-of-life. In an ideal world,
all the oil should be used only as a raw material, not for burning.
Recycling plastics is a myth, an exercise of social correctness,
without any hard economic value. Industry says that plastics can
be recycled. Environmentalists disagree, they say plastics can only
be “down-cycled” in the sense that plastics can only
be converted to lower-grade plastic products. The only sensible thing
to do with plastics waste is to burn it, along with other waste that
it ignites well, and let plastics go back to the fuel definition,
after having achieved the whole added value cycle in-between.
New and fast growing plastics, and craze for specialties
Many plastics suppliers policy is to include as much as possible
specialties in the portfolio, on the ground that higher prices and
added value are better controlled. Specialty means pricing power.
In fact, there are two types of specialties, those that are protected
by patents, know-how and other entry barriers, and those that are
pseudo specialties. The Internet is going to have a destructive impact
on these specialties. Analysts believe that the increased transparency
that will result from Internet markets and trading on line capabilities
will erode any excess profits in the sector. Whole margins in the
commodity chemical markets are generally slim and margins in true
specialties are relatively invulnerable, there is an as yet not measured
section of the specialty market that may experience a collapse in
margins over the next few years.
Remember when they used to say, this was back in the 1980s, that
no new polymer, no new molecule, was likely to achieve mass volume
commodity status. Then PET happened, and polycarbonate, maybe on
this track. Which are going to be the PET and the PC of the next
Biodegradable, polylactic polymers PLA
Major impact of metallocenes, not only PE
Revival of polyaliphatic ketones?
Many more alloys
Composites, also with wood and fibers
Mineral polymers, trends to silica polymers
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