PLASTICS IN THE WORLD
IN 2020, PLASTINDIA, DELHI 2003
Françoise Pardos, Pardos Marketing, February 2006
Plastics consumption by major areas
Out of the 154 million of tons consumed in 2000, the split by major
Table 3. Plastics consumption by major
thousands of tons
|Europe W, C, E
|Eurasia, Russia, others
|Middle East, incl. TR
|Africa, North & South
|Other Asia Pacific, rest
*Average annual rate of growth
Future consumption of plastics for the next 18 years is going to
be very different in the various areas of the world.
The developed world will continue growing, but much more slowly
than in the past, between 1960 and 1979, when the US, Western
Europe and Japan generated the major growth of plastics in the world,
with average annual rates of growth (AARG) up to 15 %, or doubling
consumption every five years, until 1975 the first oil major price
raise. Then about twenty years ago, many emerging economies became
important players. However, starting form a much larger world tonnage,
the AARG never ever matched again the 15 % achieved in earlier times,
even with very active growth obtained in some countries, like China
For the next 17-20 years to come, the world total growth will hardly
grow faster than 6.5 % because of the already achieved large consumption
in the now industrialized areas that were 96 million tons out of
154 million tons in 2000, or still 62 % of world total.
Because many of the new emerging countries, of very large size,
like China and India, and other areas to a lesser extent, will have
plastics growth over 10 % a year for the next twenty years, by 2020,
the former industrialized area, W. Europe, US and Japan, will only
be 200 million tons out of 540 million tons, or then only 37 % of
the world total.
This is the major change happening, already seen in the shift of
the new capacity projects.
What are the new plastics to take in?
What are the engineering and specialty plastics to become commodities?
One look at the past, they used to say in the early eighties that
no new molecule would achieve the commodity status, ever, just at
the time when the PET was taking off for bottles.
Now everybody eyes the polycarbonate. But it could be another one
again, the PBT, in the huge family of polyesters.
What about the fast trackers, the PA, the LCP, the plastics whose
economy and supply chain rest on another industry, like textiles,
such as polyamides or polyesters.
Other breakthroughs still?
And about the environment and the dire predictions
that get associated with this, global warming, ozone depletion, solid
waste, pesticides, fertilizers, and the uncontrolled intensive agriculture…
And the future of oil versus other energies? The oil one day might
only be the wonderful raw material that was meant, not a fuel to
burn. When would this change happen, mind-bobbling? And finally the
dreams, the major breakthroughs not yet guessed or hardly talked
about, like new energy sources.
About the main polymers as we know, there is no forecast indicating
any tapering off of the ethylene-based polymers before 2030-2040, and
this is well beyond the limited forecast to 2020.
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