Trade organisation, PlasticsEurope, has presented its most recent economic data for the global and UK plastics industry, which suggests heightened confidence for the recovery of the UK’s plastics industry.
Six years after the economic crisis, the 2013 data shows that the UK plastics industry had a challenging year but confidence is high that that early signs of a recovery at the end of 2013 will continue.
In 2013 the UK GDP grew to 1.7% compared to an EU average of 0.1%. Demand for plastics in 2013 stood at 3.47 million tonnes, a decrease of 3.7% in comparison with 2012. This is, at least in part, a reflection of continued light weighting and minimisation, increased recycling and a migration into higher technology, more added-value products, said the organisation.
However, the growing signs are encouraging for a strengthening of the UK rubber and plastics production with seasonally adjusted figures for UK rubber and plastics product manufacturing figures showing a slight improvement in Q4 2013.
“The plastics industry has a vital strategic and economic role in the recovery of the UK and policy makers should continue to develop a genuine long term strategy for the re-industrialisation of the UK that includes a vibrant petrochemical industry. Europe-wide, our industry employs more than 1.4 million people in over 60,000 companies (mainly small and medium sized companies in the converting sector) creating a turnover in excess of 300 Billion EUR per year,” explained Peter Davis, Director-General of the BPF.
“Concretely, the plastics industry is under significant worldwide competition, for instance, the USA’s exploitation of shale gas has significantly reduced its energy prices and improved its competitiveness against Europe. In order to guarantee the sustainable growth of the plastics industry, UK policy makers need to ensure access to competitive energy and raw materials, support for innovation and training to provide skilled workforces for the future, among other measures, to ensure a strong plastics industry,” concluded Kim Christiansen, Regional Director North, PlasticsEurope.