Plastics are an integral part of our everyday lives. They are used in our clothing, housing, automobiles, aircraft, packaging, electronics, signs, medical implants and so much more. In 1950, global plastics production was 1.5 million tonnes and growing at an average of 9% annually. Production reached 230 million tonnes in 2009. Europe was the largest producer at 24%, followed by the NAFTA countries with 23% and China with 15%.
The current GDP growth forecast is 4% per annum. Emerging markets will see the highest growths, but mature industrial markets are expected to exceed the GDP forecast.
The potential for plastics distributors in Europe is great. Think of it, if production is 230 million tonnes and Europe produces 24% of it, that’s about 55 million tonnes. If only 1% of that is accessible to distribution, that is 5.5 million tonnes. The question is: where will that 1% be? The following market segments comprise that 1%:
Key drivers for the future include:
- World population explosion
- Climate change and the environment
- Looming energy crisis
- Disease prevention and increased longevity
- Accelerating developments in technology
The majority of EPDA members focus on the four broad segments: signs & graphics, building & construction, industry, and pipe, valves and fittings. EPDA’s goal is to stimulate its members in these segments by sharing knowledge and information with and among its members.