microplastic recycling market

In the past few years, plastics have become so ubiquitous that they can be found everywhere around us. From phone accessories to lunchbox casing and single-use containers, we spend so much time interacting with plastics.

Microplastics are small plastic fragments that are usually less than five millimeters long. As a pollutant, these small plastic pieces can harm the ocean, environment, and animal health. So, managing and recycling microplastics is highly important. Read on as we cover the basics of microplastic recycling and shed light on the growth drivers, geographic analysis, and recent developments in the microplastic recycling market.

Quick Overview of Microplastics

As mentioned earlier, microplastics are extremely small pieces of plastic resulting from commercial product development and the breakdown of large plastic materials. Most microplastics are made from hydrocarbons, which are organic compounds consisting of hydrogen and carbon. These hydrocarbons are obtained from fossil fuels, which are materials naturally found within the earth’s crust. Fossil fuels are created from the fossilized remains of plants and animals buried millions of years ago.

It’s worth noting that some microplastics can also be obtained from more eco-friendly sources like cellulose, fat, and bacteria. Other renewable biomass used to make fossil fuels are carbohydrates, lignin, terpenes, and recycled food waste. These plastics emit much less greenhouse gas and are likely to dissolve in a few months.

What’s Driving the Industry Forward?

The microplastic recycling market was valued at USD 227.05 million in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.3%, generating an estimated revenue of USD 416.89 million during the forecast period.

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The market is largely driven by the introduction of new regulations by governments worldwide to reduce plastic waste. These policies aim to promote sustainable practices and reduce plastic’s impact on the environment. In addition, there has been growing awareness regarding the harmful effect of plastic waste on the environment, resulting in consumers actively preferring products made from recycled materials. As a result, the demand for microplastic recycling has increased.

How Are Microplastics Manufactured?

Below is a quick overview of the microplastics manufacturing process:

Extraction of raw materials: This step involves extracting the raw materials required to make microplastics, which include oil, coal, and natural gas.

Refinement: After extraction, fossil fuels are transferred to refineries to convert them into different petroleum products. This is the point where the building blocks of microplastics – hydrocarbons – are formed.

Cracking: The hydrocarbons are broken down into simpler alkanes by applying high pressure and temperature or using catalysts.

Polymerization: In this step, microplastic recycling market key players and other link the alkanes together by a chemical reaction.

Plastic fabrication: Fabrication is the last step in the plastic manufacturing process. This is where the microplastic gets its final form.

Packaging Segment is Anticipated to Hold Substantial Market Share

The packaging segment will account for a substantial revenue share over the forecast period. This is largely attributed to the industry’s growing emphasis on sustainable and environmentally friendly products. In addition, the introduction of new governmental policies and rising awareness regarding environmental issues have led to the packaging sector adopting more sustainable practices.

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Regional Analysis

Europe: The microplastic recycling market in Europe region grew at a robust rate in 2022. This is primarily due to the strict regulations the European Union (EU) implemented regarding waste management and single-use plastics. For instance, the EU Circular Economy Package aims to shift to a more sustainable economy by lowering waste generation and promoting recycled products. Microplastics play an important role in achieving these objectives.

North America: North America is projected to grow at a healthy CAGR over the forecast period. Several major regional governments have implemented new regulations and policies to reduce plastic waste generation and promote recycled products. For example, a new law enacted in California in January 2022 requires manufacturers to include a minimum amount of recycled material in their products.

Recent Developments

In February 2023, The REMEDIES project, funded by the European Union, set an ambitious goal of collecting over 400 tons of microplastic. The project aims to address microplastic pollution issues across various Mediterranean regions by developing advanced systems for collecting and recycling plastics.

To Sum It Up

To conclude, recycling is one of the key solutions to manage the growing problem of plastic waste. With increased environmental awareness and growing technological advancements, the microplastic recycling market is anticipated to grow at a steady rate in the coming years.

By Ankita Padiyar

Ankita Padiyar likes to play with words! She has been working in the content industry, with expertise in SEO content, social media content, website content, blogs, and articles for over 5 years. In addition to content writing, Ankita is a content publisher too, with hands-on experience with different CMSs. She works closely with B2B and B2C companies delivering engaging content that converts viewers into customers. She believes in "Dream Big" and thrives to achieve those dreams. When she isn’t writing, you can find her spending quality time with her 2-year toddler. Also, in her free time, she loves to explore new places. Don’t miss connecting with her on LinkedIn for networking!