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…as polyester remains a demanding market…

Grossostheim, Germany—Despite 7.7%/yr global demand growth, the virgin polyethylene terephthalate (PET) market remains a difficult one with a large number of players. That is why Andrew Noone, managing director of PCI (PET Packaging Resin & Recycling, Derby, England), speaking at the recent PET Symposium organized by processing equipment maker Rieter Automatik (Grossostheim, Germany), believes the sector is in for more consolidation in coming years. He says in Asia alone there are 41 PET producers, most with small- to medium-sized trains that might not be able to compete with growing Middle Eastern PET output.
Noone says that by 2011, suppliers in the Middle East hope to have 1.5 million tonnes of PET capacity in place, with plans to serve markets in both Asia/Pacific as well as Europe. According to PCI figures, PET consumption last year saw the largest growth in Asia/Pacific at 11%. Developed markets such as Europe (up 6.3% over 2005) and North America (5.9% increase) are showing signs of saturation. Carbonated soft drinks (CSD) provided 4.9% demand growth last year, consuming 4,710,000 tonnes in total. Growth in bottled water and other drinks was 8.5% and 9.7% respectively. Total PET consumption globally was 13,227,000 tonnes in 2006.
Noone says the CSD market is seeing a slowdown because of health concerns about sugar and fats, which are driving consumers to alternatives such as teas, mineral water, and dairy products. In developed countries, Noone expects demand to level off in bottling applications with the exception of Germany where most beers are still bottled in glass, offering a PET potential should brewers decide to switch. Holding up the change, he says, is concern about the image a PET bottle gives quality beers.
Recycling PET is growing in some markets such as Europe and in 11 states in the U.S. due to ‘bottle bill’ legislation. The U.S. PET collection rate rose from 21.6% in 2004 to 23.1% in 2005. PCI is forecasting PET collection to grow to 676,000 tonnes by 2010 in the U.S. Yet in other countries the collection rate is substantially higher. PCI says in Japan the collection rate two years ago (most recent figures) was 53.1% while in China, organized collection in cities and scavenging bottles as a source of income result in a collection rate of 90.2% or 1.1 million tonnes.—[email protected]
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