Fossil Fuel-Based Plastics Market Critical Insights, Trends and Forecast

Posted by AayushFMR on April 6th, 2021

Fossil Fuel-Based Plastics: Overview and Dynamics

Plastics are made from natural materials such as cellulose, coal, natural gas, salt, and crude oil through a polymerization or polycondensation process. Fossil fuel-based plastics are polymers made from petrochemicals, whereas bio-based plastics are made from plant-based sources, like starch and cellulose. More than 99% of the plastic sourced from chemicals comes from fossil fuels. This showcase a strong link between fossil fuel and plastic industries. Indeed, the fracked gas boomed a massive plastic infrastructure expansion in the United States and beyond.

The fossil fuel-based plastics market is segmented based on product, application, and region. Based on type, the market is segmented into Polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene. Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) are the most widely produced types of plastic, which can be found in many daily use products, including plastic bags and food packaging. Ethylene and propylene are particularly critical in the production of plastic packaging which is the largest and fastest-growing category of plastics products.

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Based on the application, the fossil fuel-based plastics market is segmented into packaging, construction, automotive, medical devices, furniture & bedding, consumer goods, electricals, and others. Packaging dominated the market with the highest share in 2019. This high share is due to the demand from various end-use industries including medical, construction, and electronics in emerging economies. The low cost of manufacturing and high demand from the major industries is the most important factor for the rise of fossil fuel-based plastics manufacturers in the market.

The growth of the fossil fuel-based plastics market has triggered an increasing demand in terms of energy generation from waste due to the clean environment. Increasing household and industrial waste have resulted in plastic energy generated by governments in different regions. In the coming years, a positive regulation scenario combined with government funding may impact the fossil fuel-based plastics market in the form of tax benefits and financial incentives. Growing environmental concerns about using non-renewable sources of energy shall hinder the growth of the market.

Fossil fuel-based plastics production is highly localized, plastic production is also concentrated in specific regions where fossil fuel-based plastics development is present, including, notably, the US Gulf Coast. European plastics producers led the world in production until the 2000s, after which Asia, led by China, became the largest fossil fuel-based plastic-producing region. Because plastics production is part of the fossil fuel supply chain, many fossil fuel companies also produce plastic resins and products.

The manufacturing of plastic heavily relies on the use of fossil fuels, such as petroleum and natural gas. The world is moving away from the use of fossil fuels starts the discussion on whether to continue or discontinue the production of fossil fuel-based plastics. However, the massive shale gas production in the US also brings out an opportunity for the manufacturing of fossil-fuel based plastics. The companies are working hard to find the markets where fossil fuel-based plastics are consumed.

Fossil Fuel-Based Plastics Market: COVID-19 Impact Insights

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent halt in manufacturing activities created an impact on the supply availability of a variety of renewable chemicals. Furthermore, current disruption in trade also gravely impacted the availability of chemical stocks in import-dependent countries. This is the most affected verticals due to COVID-19 outbreak. The extensive use of fossil fuel-based plastics not only limits to the production of storage, household, automotive, medical and many other products.

The restrictions and lockdowns imposed across the globe with strict social distancing measures restrained the growth of fossil fuel-based market. The chemical and oil & gas industry was also witnessing a slump in their growth during the pandemic. This disrupted the supply chain starting from the procurement of raw materials to the manufacturing of fossil fuel-based plastics. The companies faced a shortage of raw materials and a decrease in their inventory levels.  

The high range of properties offered by fossil fuel-based plastics make it an essential product for the manufacturing of secondary items. This drove the revival of the fossil fuel-based market after being incorporated in the production of PPE kits, gloves, facemasks, shields, goggles and shoe covers. However, the fossil fuel-based market will soon revive owing up to its uses in major industries and release of the lockdowns during the forecast period.  

Segmentation Analysis of Global Fossil Fuel-Based Plastics Market

Global Fossil Fuel-Based Plastics Market is bifurcated into three major categories: product, application, and region.

Based on the product, the global market for fossil fuel-based plastics is divided into:

  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • polypropylene (PP) 
  • polyvinylchloride
  • polyethylene terephthalate
  • polystyrene
  • Others

Based on application, the global market for fossil fuel-based plastics is divided into:

  • Packaging
  • Construction
  • Automotive
  • Medical Devices
  • Furniture & Bedding
  • Consumer Goods
  • Electricals
  • Other

Based on the region, the global market for fossil fuel-based plastics is segmented as:

  • North America
  • Latin America
  • Europe
  • East Asia
  • South Asia 
  • Oceania
  • Middle East & Africa

Fossil Fuel-Based Plastics Market: Regional Outlook

The Asia Pacific dominated the market and accounted for a 35.5% share of global revenue in 2019. The major demand for fossil fuel-based plastics is expected to rise from China, India, and Japan. Increasing industrialization and urbanization in these regions is expected to drive market growth over the coming years. Favorable government policies and regulations to promote the development of renewable energy technologies are projected to propel market growth over the forecast period.

North America is the second-largest plastic producer accounts to the potential growth of fossil fuel-based market in the forecast period. However, government rules and regulations prohibiting the use of fossil fuel-based plastics makes it difficult for manufacturers to find end-users. Also, the manufacturers tend to invest more in the corporate social responsibility activities so as to manage the waste that is produced by fossil fuel-based plastics.

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Joined: January 19th, 2021
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