Robust demand for circular plastics, in tandem with changing regulations and increasingly bold brand-owner commitments, has led to outsize margins over the past four to five years (see sidebar, “An overview of sustainability in packaging”). With this in mind, the current situation can be seen as a parallel to the start of the previous investment boom in Western petrochemicals, which was linked to commercialization of shale gas in the United States. Then, over the next three to five years, the economics became attractive (in the form of advantaged ethane prices) and investment was announced at scale (in the form of gas cracker final investment decisions [FIDs]).
Investment in recycling is accelerating. Now may be the time to derisk through business model innovations and by pursuing investment opportunities further upstream. This is a FREE article