Plastic waste awakening to disrupt petrochemical market

2nd November 2018


P6 plastic bottles image source is098r0xj

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  • Manufacturing

Author

Stephen Grundy

A fall in plastic demand, driven by consumer activism and regulatory bans, is set to disrupt the entire petrochemical value chain, leaving billions of dollars of investments at risk.

That is the warning of a study by IHS Markit, which states that sustainability is the most critical issue facing the global base chemicals and commodity plastics industry. Upstream feedstock demand for aromatics, olefins and chlorine will also be impacted.

Moreover, the study estimates that a fall in demand of 10m metric tons for polyethylene would reduce global ethylene production by 3%-5%, which could, in turn, reduce demand for natural gas liquids.

Plastic producers, processors and packaging companies also face market uncertainty and investment risk, while governments are confronted with planning difficulties around recycling.

The study’s lead author, Nick Vafiadis, said: “It’s a challenge that involves every participant of the value chain – from energy to consumer, encompassing both the private and public sectors.”

Image credit: iStock

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