US demand for plastic film is projected to rise 1.1% per year to 16.8 billion pounds in 2024, valued at $23.8 billion, according to a new Freedonia Group analysis. The following resin trends are expected to affect market growth through the forecast period:
LLDPE Will Remain Leading Film Resin Through 2024
LLDPE accounted for 46% of plastic film demand in 2019 based on its low cost, versatility, and good barrier properties, and will remain the leading plastic film resin through 2024. These resins will continue to benefit from growing use of monolayer all-PE film compositions in packaging products to enable recycling after use.
Polypropylene & PET to advance strongly due to rising barrier requirements
Through 2024, polypropylene will see healthy gains due to:
- its rising coextrusion with higher value barrier resins for better performing films
- increasing use as an alternative to PVC
- rising demand for food packaging that offers extended shelf life and single servings
Above average advances are also expected for PET (polyethylene terephthalate), bolstered by rising barrier requirements in food and nonfood packaging applications.
Bio-based resins to experience fastest growth
Though still relatively niche products, bio-based resins are expected to see the fastest growth of the plastic film material types, driven by increasing demand for packaging that is perceived as being sustainable, particularly as more state and local single-use plastics regulations take effect.
PLA is currently the most widely used bio-based resin, but its sustainability is limited because it can only be composted in industrial compositing facilities, can leave behind microplastic pollution, and is not recyclable. Hence, film producers are exploring the viability of other bio-based options, such as PHA.
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Plastic Film is now available from The Freedonia Group. Historical data for 2009, 2014, and 2019 and forecasts for 2024 are presented in pounds by market and resin.