Plastics Industry Facts


Worlds Plastics Production

The European and US plastics industries are under significant competition from Asia. For a long time Europe and North America led the global plastics production. Today, China is the largest producer of plastics (25%) followed by Europe (20%) and the US (19.5%).1 When combined, the Americas and Europe account for about 45 percent of the worlds plastic production which is equal to Asia (China, Japan, and rest of Asia). The global plastics industry has continuously grown for more than 50 years. For instance, for the period 2012 to 2017, the demand for plastic products increased steadily by about 3.7 percent per year with a total world plastics production of about 300 Mtonne in 2013.1


European Plastics Industry

The European plastics industry employs about 1.45 million people who are working in approximately 62,000 companies (mainly small and medium sized companies in the plastics converting sector). It creates a turnover of above 350 billion EUR per year. About two thirds of Europe’s plastics demand is concentrated in five countries (25.4% Germany, 14.3% Italy, 9.7% France, 7.6% UK, and 7.5% Spain).1 According to PlasticsEurope, the European plastics industry has produced about 57 Mtons of plastics per year, whereas Europe’s demand was only about 46 Mtons per year for the same period (2011-2013).


US Plastics Industry

The US plastics industry is the third largest manufacturing industry in the United States. It employs nearly one million people in the manufacturing sector (about 16,000 manufacturing sites) and 1.4 million people total when including plastics suppliers.1-5 The U.S. plastics industry created a turnover of about $380 billion per year with more than $13 billion trade surplus and a total production volume of about 55 Mtons in 2012.1-5 The United states has significantly reduced their energy prices increasing their competitiveness in the world.


  1. PlasticsEurope (PEMRG) / Consultic / ECEBD
  2. Plastics Europe Press Release 2014
  3. Plastics Industry Trade Association
  4. American Chemistry Councel
  5. U.S. Burea of Labor Statistics

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