Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Construction plastics market booming despite climate change warnings

Construction pipe

Market forecasts show a boom in the demand of plastics used in construction despite recent climate change warnings about the use of plastics.   

The construction sector is already the one of the largest users of plastics, behind only the packaging industry, and is forecast to use even more in consulting firm Frost & Sullivan’s report Global Engineering Plastics Market, forecast to 2024. 

The report estimates the industry’s plastic use will reach $104.32bn (£79bn) by 2024, growing at a rate of 5.4% a year between 2017 and 2024. 

The cause of the boom, according to the report is ”rapid urbanisation and rising purchasing power in Asia, (particularly China,) India and South Asia, resulting in booming demand for engineering plastics in automotive, electronic, and construction development segments”

Senior Research Analyst at Visionary Science Sayan Mukherjee said that the construction industry was a huge potential market for expansion.  

“The construction industry is a major consumers of engineering plastics and a huge potential market. Modern engineering plastic composites are continually replacing conventional materials in a wide variety of applications including roofing, piping and windows,” he said. “The primary material selection criteria in construction industry hinges on material durability, cost effectiveness, recyclability, energy saving potential, safety and ease of installation and transportation. Engineering plastics check all the boxes.” 

Piping and conduits make up the bulk of the sectors plastic use at 35%, with PVC and Polyethylene pipes used to transport sewage, gas, and drinking water. 

However, following the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report earlier this year, there have been growing concerns over limiting climate change, including our use of plastic materials. The report recommended limiting climate change to 1.5ºC instead of the 2.0ºC limit as set by the Paris Agreement, to ensure a more “sustainable and equitable society”. 

The construction sector produced 200,000t of plastic waste in 2016, 45% of which was recycled. 

“There is a growing concern for sustainable living and green-building. However, the impact is limited on engineering plastics due to their recyclability and re-usability,” Mukherjee said. “Moreover, use of plastic materials considerably reduces energy consumption over a lifetime, when compared to alternative materials and assists in the construction of green buildings. Although, commodity plastics such as PVC, is losing favour due to its environmental impact and health concerns.” 

Like what you’ve read? To receive New Civil Engineer’s daily and weekly newsletters click here.

Readers' comments (1)

  • I'm puzzled as to why plastics are being associated with climate change. Can anyone explain? Yes they are based on fossil fuels, but, unless their production involves high energy use, they don't produce greenhouse gases. Concrete, ceramics, steel must all be fairly high energy users.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.