Report Shows Challenges Facing Plastic Industry, Recycling

by | Jun 28, 2023

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Circular.co, an end-to-end digital supply chain platform specializing in recycled plastics, has released a report on the complexities of the plastics industry. With the industry’s value currently at $600 billion and projected to exceed $800 billion by the end of the decade, the report addresses the challenges faced by buyers, the hurdles to sustainable growth, the impact of legislation, and the pivotal role of technology in driving future circularity.

Sustainability as an Economic Opportunity

One of the key takeaways from the report is the undervalued economic opportunity presented by sustainability. Brands that embrace sustainable practices experience significant growth and have the chance to establish a competitive advantage. The report emphasizes that companies can no longer afford to overlook sustainability goals aimed at reducing virgin plastic usage and increasing the adoption of post-consumer recycled materials.

Navigating Market Volatility

Market volatility poses a significant obstacle to long-term investment in the plastics industry. The fluctuating prices, driven by demand variability, supply challenges, and global economic headwinds, make it difficult for buyers and sellers to plan and invest strategically. The report shows the need for stability in order to foster sustainable growth and encourages stakeholders to seek innovative solutions to mitigate the impact of market volatility.

Strength in Recycled Plastic Growth

The report highlights the strengthening tailwinds driving the growth of recycled plastics. These include increasing consumer demand for sustainability, legislative mandates promoting the use of recycled plastics, improved economics surrounding recyclable materials, and advancements in technology for sorting, processing, and sourcing. The combination of these factors creates a favorable environment for the growth and adoption of recycled plastics.

While demand for recycled plastics continues to rise, the industry faces headwinds that impede its widespread adoption. Challenges such as availability, affordability, and variability of supply have hindered deeper investment and adoption of recycled plastics.

However, the report emphasizes that technology is revolutionizing the industry by eliminating barriers and streamlining sourcing processes, thereby facilitating the wider adoption of sustainable practices.

The Key to Circular Potential

According to the report, the industry requires technology-based solutions to drive down the cost of sustainable commodities. The report emphasizes the importance of sourcing, distributing, and manufacturing sustainable materials at speed and scale. By leveraging innovative technologies, stakeholders can eliminate inefficiencies, reduce green premiums, and accelerate the transition toward a circular economy, according to the report.

Editor’s note: Don’t miss the virtual Environment+Energy Leader Solutions Summit ’23 on July 18-19. Learn tangible, innovative solutions to help with sustainable transitions across industries. Speakers from companies and organizations including Schneider Electric, Cority, Jump Associates, Mycocycle, Plainsight, LRQA, the Alliance to Save Energy, and many more will share tactics and lessons that can help you solve your energy management, sustainability, and ESG challenges. Learn more about the #EESummit23, and then register today!

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