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Plastic industry in India - statistics and facts

The plastic industry was established in India in 1957 and has grown considerably since its inception. Today, it is a multi-billion-dollar industry. There were around 15 large scaled polymer manufacturers, approximately 30,000 plastic processing units, over seven thousand recycling units, and a host of end-users, which ensured an effective value chain within the country. This led to the employment of more than four million people, with around 1.7 million skilled laborers in financial year 2019.

Reliance Industries Limited was one of the largest producers of plastics in the country. It was the leading producer for polyolefins, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). It was the only producer in the country for low-density polyethylene. Polypropylene was the most produced polyolefin across the country. This industry served a broad spectrum of other industries that covered almost every domain of life such as household items, automobiles, packaging, electrical and electronics, among others. There were a host of end-user companies that specialized in these fields. Supreme Industries and Nilkamal, for example, specialized in molded plastic articles and furniture, while Apollo Pipes was key player for plastic products, and Finolex Industries important for the plastic tubes and fittings market.

Apart from this, the country had around 200 plastic equipment manufacturers, which served downstream players in this industry. Values at over 700 million U.S. dollars, it provided direct and indirect employment to nearly two million people. In the last four financial years, there was a large amount of capacity addition. More than half of the machines installed were of injection molding type; however, based on capacity, the extrusion type had the largest share.

India imported as well as exported raw material and finished product polymers of different types. However, the country was a net importer. PVC and PET were the leading polymer raw materials to be traded. In terms of finished products, the country principally traded plastic sheets, films, and plates. Nepal was the leading destination for export of Indian PVC, while the majority of India’s PVC imports came from South Korea.

Plastic consumption India was recorded at over 18 million metric tons. However, the impact of plastic on the environment and consequent levels of pollution are becoming increasing concerns. The central government decided to eliminate single-use plastic from the country by 2022, after trying to unsuccessfully implement a ban earlier. The north-eastern state of Sikkim was ahead of its time by implementing a ban on plastic back in 1998. This was a result of education and awareness, along with the process to implement it at all levels. In general, Indians saw the benefits of buying products from recycled and re-used material.

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Plastic industry in India

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