Plastic consumption

The world plastic consumption is characterized by a strong growth rate (9% per year) a huge wasting (40% of packaging in EU) and a mismanagement of the produced waste (39% of landfills in EU).

From the 1.5 million of tons recorded in 1950, the global production of plastic raised to 322 millions of tons in 2015. Today we produce in one year the amount of plastic that was produced between 1950 and 1975. Despite the biggest consumers are the Western countries (more than 100 Kg of plastic per year per habitant), but biggest potential growth is in Asian countries, where the actual consumption per year per habitant is around 20 kg.

Global plastic consumption. Source: PlasticEurope Market Research Group 2016.

On the European scene, four sectors account for around 75% of total European demand: packaging is largely in the lead, accounting for nearly 40% of plastic consumption, the construction industry which accounts for 20.5%, car industry (8.3%) and electronics (5.4%). Other domain such as leisure activities or medical applications are responsible for the 26.4% of the total European consumption. From these data we can remark that a large portion of plastic production is devoted to packaging which has a limited lifetime and economic value.

Plastic consumption distribution. Packaging industry represent the main consumer which accounts for 39.4 % of the total production. Source: PlasticEurope Market Research Group 2016.

Europe produces 25 million of tons of plastic waste every year of which 26% are recycled, 36% are used as energy source, 38% are brought to landfill sites without further treatment. In other words, in Europe, more than one third that is to say 10 million of tons of plastic waste are not treated despite their potential as economical resource.

After life of plastic waste in Europe. Source: PlasticEurope Market Research Group 2016.