Plastics are everywhere. It remains a booming industry, because in a world of cell phones, computers, lightweight cars and water bottles—forgive me if some of those examples make me sound like an old dude—plastics are the necessary building blocks of modern life.
Recognizing the infinite utility and usefulness of the substance, Direct Capital’s Jason Adler and Joe Schlegel attended the International Plastics Showcase conference in sunny Orlando, Florida. With over 50,000 attendees, it’s the biggest American show for the plastics industry, and it draws vendors from all over the world. In fact, Schlegel estimated that 40% of all exhibitors were from outside the U.S., and half of those were from plastics giants in China.
It was a well-organized show, however, and so it was easy to check out those exhibits. A trip through the state of the art facilities in Orlando revealed everything from prototype chairs molded purely from recycled plastic to increasingly efficient manufacturing methods.
“There were much larger numbers of full production machines on the floor than in recent years. That was driven by an improved economy and the cost efficient logistics of being in Orlando,” Schlegel told me. “There seemed to be a tremendous amount of equipment being quoted and sold.”
All in all, it adds up to a thriving plastic industry with a lot of good omens.According to CIPET, in fact, the average growth over the next few years is expected to be a cool 5% per annum, with the expected end result in 2015 being 227 million tons of plastic purchased worldwide. That’s…a lot of plastic, and a lot that demand will come from the United States.
What’s your impression of the state of the plastics industry?