India’s polymer industry, while growing, still has vast untapped potential, according an industry report.
India consumes only 7.4kg of polymer per person every year, much lower than the United States which uses more than 100kg per person annually. Global average is 29kg (2010).
Polymer is used in various forms, from making straws and bottles for soft drinks, to bags, inside parts of your car doors, vehicle tyres, and the pipes and wires used in your house.
Polymer accounts for a major recycling problem worldwide, especially in developed nations – the largest consumers of polymer. Open your recycling bin and most containers you see in there use some form of polymer.
China and India still account for very minor consumption of the world’s polymer. However a report by GlobalData, an international business research firm, suggests that the use of polymer in India is on the increase.
India is currently the world’s third largest consumer of polymers, according to the GlobalData report, behind China and the US, with a share of 5.7% of the 2011 global total – an increase from 3.5% in 2000.
Growth in the polymer industry really kicked off in India after the country’s economic liberalisation in 1991, says an analyst for GlobalData.
“The resulting deregulation and privatization sparked a boom in end-use sectors such as packaging, construction and automotive that has seen per capita consumption increase from 1kg in 1980 to 7.4kg in 2010.”
This consumption is still significantly lower than that of most western countries – when compared on ‘per person’ basis.
“With surging industrialisation and an increasingly powerful economy, the subcontinent still has massive as-yet largely untapped potential.”
India produces about 7.4 Million Metric tons (MMt) annually (2011), and this production is expected to grow to 11.6 MMt by 2016, thanks to special incentives by the government.
The government has set up Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Regions (PCPIRs) in Dahej (Gujarat), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Paradip (Orissa) and Haldia (West Bengal), while two more are planned – Cuddalore (Tamilnadu) and Mangalore (Karnataka).
However, the demand is very high in India as the consumption grew at a compounded rate of 9.1% from 2000 to 20011.
The government also approved 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which allows foreign firms to have 100% ownership of food processing companies, which will in turn create a higher demand for plastic packaging materials.
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