Firm sees global demand for plastics in cups, lids rising 5.9%/yr

18 June 2013 19:33  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Global demand for plastic materials used in the production of cups and lids will increase by 5.9% per year to $13.9bn in 2017, driven by healthy unit advances for plastic packaging cups and drinking cups, a research firm said on Tuesday.

Polystyrene (PS) is the leading resin in cup and lid production, but PS growth in this application will be challenged by increasing use of polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in plastic drinking cups, and by full or partial bans targeting PS packaging, according to a study by the Cleveland-based industry research firm The Freedonia Group.

Key attributes benefitting PP include low cost, stiffness, chemical inertness and heat resistance. At the same time, demand for polyethylene (PE) in cups and lids will be restrained by the use of PP, which is more amenable to the manufacture of thin wall containers, Freedonia said.

Advances for PET will be supported by solid prospects for packaging cups and drinking cups and performance advantages such as high clarity and lack of flavour or odour migration. Its environmental profile will benefit PET, as the resin’s well-developed recycling infrastructure is expanded via collection programs.

Corn-based resin polylactic acid (PLA), a degradable alternative to conventional plastic resins, is expected to see robust growth in cup and lid applications starting from a relatively small base. Advances for PLA will be moderated by performance drawbacks such as brittleness and a limited temperature range, according to Freedonia.

By: Ron Coifman
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