Industry Trends & Future Of Plastic Industry

Vijay Gupta, Founder & Managing Director, Calco GroupThe Plastic Industry has made a steady beginning in 1945 but the development took place from 1960 onwards. Since the liberalization of Indian Economy in 1991, this sector has shown tremendous growth and diversification. In today's scenario, Plastic is a major component, used in each and every Sector/ Industry like Electronics, Computers, White Goods, to name a few!

Plastic is a synthetic material made from wide range of organic polymers that can be molded into any shape or form i.e. soft rigid or slightly elastic. At present their low cost, ease of manufacture, adaptability and opaque/impenetrable/impassable to water makes it a finer, usable raw material than any other component. From paper clips to spacecraft, plastics are used in multitude of products of different scales.

The Plastic Industry contributes to almost every daily requirement of a human being whether it is Clothing, Construction, Housing, Automobiles, Household items, Furniture, Agriculture, Medical Appliances, Horticulture, Irrigation, Packaging, Electronics and Electrical items etc. In the last 5 years, India's Plastic Industry has grown tremendously by 13 percent annually and similar growth is expected even in the near future.

At present, there are over 30,000 registered plastic processing units. Growth of the sector is at a CAGR of 10 percent in volume from 8.3 MMTPA in the financial year 2010 and it was 13.4 MMTPA in 2015.

Looking at such a tremendous growth, it is estimated to grow at a CAGR of around 10.5 percent to gain 22 MMPTA from 2015-2020. However, from a long time, India's Plastic Industry is facing a huge crunch in demand in the domestic sector, which is affecting over 4 million people employed in the Plastic Industry.

To cope up with the situation, several new trends have emerged which continue to be refined and amplified within the Plastic Industry. New Plastics which are introduced, are not only safe to dispose but also are energy efficient and emits less toxic radiations. Technology and Innovative minds are shaping up the
sector and it is important to understand the recent trends which are as follows:

Engineering Plastic: Engineering Plastics has been recently introduced to Indian market and has now been developed intensively because of its great potential benefits and better Mechanical and Thermal properties. It is Stronger and durable than the regular Plastic. Besides equaling or surpassing them in weight/strength and other properties, Engineering Plastics are much easier to manufacture, especially in making complicated shapes. It is light in weight and can reduce the overall weight of Appliances by almost 50 percent. The Sector is increasingly looking at such cost effective alternatives and innovative measures, which will result in the Profit of an Organization and can also contribute towards Renewable Energy.

Engineering Plastics has been recently introduced to Indian market and has now been developed intensively

Biodegradable Plastics: Single use Plastics is a big threat to the Environment. The solution is Biodegradable Plastic, which is made from plant based raw materials that allows naturaldecomposition processes. The Industry is gaining huge popularity and expected to be worth $6.12 billion by 2023. The Green Plastic, benefits are safer decomposition and energy efficiency.

Plastic Roads: With an aim, to overcome the growing problem of Plastics Waste Disposal in India, the & Plastic Man of India& Chemistry Prof, Rajagopalan Vasudevan at Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Chennai developed the technology to build Indian Roads by Plastics. Roads made of Plastic Composite have better weathering resistance than standard asphalt concrete roads. These roads do not absorb water and have better flexibility, which results in less rutting and less need for repair.

Many Industries are regularly modifying the Plastic to make it environment friendly. In India, Plastic has a higher edge in terms of Trust, Ability and Technology to leverage the global market. Corporate Houses are vigorously innovating & competing to provide the most efficient Plastics for making manufacturing easier, recyclable and more cost effective. However, for corporate sector also recycling of plastic is a complicated issue. There are so many different grades of plastic, each requiring their own recycling processes. Some nondurable plastic types are not even recyclable in a commercially viable manner. So to cope up with the situation, the Corporates are indulging in various CSR activities for saving the Environment from Waste Pollution. The aim is to make the best use of Plastic without effecting or harming the Nature.

Currently, India generates 25,940 tonnes of Plastic Waste every day. Even though having such great advantages, government and many Environmental Activists are calling for a ban on Plastics. For tackling the menace of Plastic Waste in India, the Government has completely banned import of Solid Plastic waste/scrap in the Country. However, the very properties that make Plastic so dangerous its durability and long lifespan also make it a great asset. Plastic is such a material that can be constantly recycled. This helps Ecology and the Economy, especially when the human population is growing rapidly and our lifestyle demands are increasing exponentially. The solution is not to Ban Plastic, but to ensure that it is used responsibly and recycled properly.