Much to the chagrin of activists, an increasingly restrictive regulatory environment appears to have put little dent in the industry's power so far.
That is changing, however, and plastic giants are starting to adapt.
From 2006 to 2016, global plastic output rose from 245 million to 348 million tonnes, according to the PlasticsEurope trade association. Production rose by 3.9 percent in 2017. In 2016 the growth rate stood at 4 percent, and in 2015 at 3.5 percent.
Demand for thermoplastics alone — which includes the most common kinds of plastic, such as PET used in water bottles, polypropylene, polyethylene and PVC — has soared by 4.7 percent yearly from 1990 to 2017.
"Is this going to continue in the coming years? We can assume it will," said Herve Millet, technical and regulatory affairs manager at PlasticsEurope.
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