01 Jun 2022

Declining Market Share and Increased Regulations Threaten Europe’s Plastic Industry

Declining Market Share and Increased Regulations Threaten Europe’s Plastic Industry

Growing public pressure on the plastic industry and a decreased market share should sway the plastic industry towards more sustainable practices, according to a new report.

The report by non-profit Planet Tracker highlights that while China has rapidly increased plastic production, in the EU, production has largely stagnated. Europe’s global market share has therefore declined. 

Concurrently, the public and governments have been pushing for a reduction in plastic, John Willis from Planet Tracker told The Independent. 

Billions of euros are at stake if the industry continues to lose out, but investment firms could influence the plastic industry to capitalise on burgeoning demand for sustainable products.

While global chemical sales from China significantly rose from around €600bn ($644bn) in 2010 to around €1,500bn ($1,600n) in 2019, sales from the EU have stayed around €500 billion in that same time, the report notes. In addition, over that period, plastics became a smaller and smaller portion of chemical sales from the EU.

The industry’s decline in market share comes as worldwide tightening of regulations are working against it. For example, the EU has begun imposing single-use plastic bans and earlier this year, 175 countries at the UN agreed to negotiate a global treaty on limiting plastic pollution. 

The report also highlights that there’s a growing public sentiment against plastics as people prefer more sustainable products. 

The report urges investment firms to push these industries to evolve by boosting recyclability, reducing waste and cutting emissions, to secure their investments. 

The report highlights that just 40 firms have around €466bn ($500bn) invested in the European plastics industry but have rarely used that stake to push for sustainable alternatives.

“This industry, quite frankly, is an environmental disaster,” said Willis — and we’re hooked on the products, he notes. But no matter if your concern is financial, environmental or health-related, there are plenty of reasons to worry, he says.

“We need to find alternatives,” Willis added.

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