Plastic is gaining increasing importance in different industries, making continuous advancements in Plastic Technology. The Indian plastic industry makes up for about 0.05% of India’s GDP and yields about 1% of the country’s exports. India is currently the leading importer of Polyethylene (PE), observing a regional diversity in the use of plastic with Western India making up for 47%, Northern India for 23%, and Southern India for 21%. Most of the consumption in the Northern part of India is from end-use industries of packaging, electronic devices, etc. A huge variety of plastic raw-materials are produced in our country for meeting the material requirements of different sectors of our economy.
These materials can be easily classified into:
- Commodity plastic
- Engineering Plastic
- Speciality plastic
Commodity plastic comprises polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride and Polystyrene. Engineering and Specialty Plastic on the other hand are plastic that exhibits mechanical and thermal properties in a vast range of conditions. These include styrene derivatives, polycarbonate, poly oxy methylene plastics, etc.
The plastic industry is one of the most rapidly growing industries in our country. Polyethylene accounts for the biggest share comprising 43% of the total consumption, while PP accounts for approximately 24% of the total consumption. Western India has been the biggest consumer of plastic making up for approximately 47% of the total consumption. This comprises of Maharashtra, Gujarat and the union territories of Daman, Diu and Dadra, and Nagar Haveli along with Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The total consumption of plastic in India in 2012-13 was 10 million tonnes per annum. Out of this, Northern India accounted for 23% of the total sum. The majority of the consumption of Plastic in Northern India comes from the Industries of Auto, packaging, plasticulture application, etc. The consumption of Northern India is comparatively lower than that of Western India only because of the unavailability of raw materials. Reliance, the biggest petrochemical player in our country had all its units in Western India because it helped in the growth of downstream plastic processing. Reliance Industries is the biggest producer of commodity plastic in the country. It has 1.16 million tonnes per annum capacity of PE, 2.7 million tonnes per annum capacity of PP, and 650,000 tonnes per annum of PVC. Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd is another integral player with a PR capacity of 710,000 tonnes per annum and PP capacity of 390,000 tonnes per annum.
Few plastic materials that are produced in surplus in the country are exported to international markets. Most important exporting destinations happen to be China, Egypt, the UAE, Turkey, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Due to the growth of the Indian construction industry, the demand for PVC is exceptionally increasing every day with high domestic production. Of all the domestic suppliers, Reliance is the largest, followed by Chemplast and Finoflex.
To conclude, in India, plastic not only plays an integral role in the economy of the country but also it’s agriculture, automobiles, construction, electronics and power transmission sectors.