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India: Opportunities for U.S. Biodegradable and Compostable Resin Manufacturers

The Government of India’s recent policy restricting the use of single use plastics to curb pollution, offers immense opportunities for the U.S. resin suppliers.

The annual demand for plastics in India is over 16 million metric tons, of which 11 million metric tons (85 percent of the total) is comprised of polyethylene, polypropylene, and poly vinyl chloride (PVC). 

There has been a steady increase in the demand for plastics in the country, perpetuated by the increase in per capita consumption of plastics from less than 1 kilogram (kg) in 1980 to 11 kg in 2019. This is projected to reach 20 kg per person annually by 2022.

Prior to the global pandemic, per capita plastic waste in India had increased to 4 kg annually. To combat the steady rise in plastic usage and plastic waste, in 2019 the Indian government introduced pollution control measures, which were followed in August 2021 with the introduction of a plastic waste management rule restricting the manufacturing, use, sale, imports, and handling of single use plastic in the country using a phased approach. 

The first phase of this policy came into effect on September 30, 2021, after which manufacturers of plastic bags must increase the thickness of non-recyclable bags below 50 microns to 75 microns. This will be further increased to 120 microns from December 31, 2022.  

India’s policy is aimed at curbing pollution and motivating Indian manufacturers to use biodegradable resins or bio blends to manufacture plastic products that fall in the single use plastics category. Products in this category include plastic bags, garbage bags, shopping bags, mulch films, stretch films, and many other products which are used once, or for a short period of time, before being discarded by the consumer. 

Although India has a large number of local and international resin manufacturers to meet existing demand, most focus on the manufacture of conventional resins and not on biodegradable resins or bio blends, such as polylactic acid or polylactide (PLA); poly hydroxy alkenoates (PHA); polybutylene succinate (PBS); and polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT); or specialized engineered polymers. 

Industry experts estimate the sector will experience a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 per cent, touching $750 million by 2025 from $208 million in 2019. It is anticipated this could provide strong export opportunities to U.S. biodegradable and compostable resin manufacturers.

For more information, please contact your nearest local U.S. Export Assistance Center or the U.S. Commercial Service’s India team at:
Raman Ahuja, Commercial Assistant, Industrial Material Team Member; Report Author 
Sanjay Arya, Senior Commercial Specialist; Sector Lead for Chemicals
Geoffrey Parish, Principal Commercial Officer, North India

Web Sources:
- Basel International (http://www.basel.int/Home/tabid/2202/Default.aspx)
- Press Information Bureau, Government of India (https://pib.gov.in/index.aspx)
- India Brand Equity Foundation (https://www.ibef.org/)
- Central Pollution Control Board (https://cpcb.nic.in/)
- Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan (https://aatmanirbharbharat.mygov.in/)
- Statista (https://www.statista.com/)

11/08/2021