PE Film Market in China
Monolayer blown-film constructions account for more than 92% of institutional trash bags,
but the use of multi-layer coextrusion is growing to allow the incorporation of recycled content.
According to the ONGREAT research, approximately 1,556.1 million lb of PE resins were consumed by processors to produce institutional trash bags in 2017.
With an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 4.4%,
Mastio projects this segment of the PE film business will increase to 1,782.3 million lb of PE resin consumption by 2020.
Widths of institutional trash bags range from 13 in. to 69 in.,
with the most typical width being 30.0 in., according to the report. Institutional trash bag lengths vary from 17 to 90 in.,
with 48 in. being the average length.
Institutional trash bag capacities range from 4-90 gal, with 33, 40, and 45 gallons being the most common.
Institutional trash bag film gauges range from 0.1 mils to 10 mils in the United States (U.S.) and 0.3 mils to 12.8 mils in Canada.
Processors who participated in the study generally stated that there is not a typical gauge for institutional trash bags;
film gauge depends on the application.
As with most of the bigger PE film markets, institutional can liners are dominated by a handful of large operations.
According to Mastio, the five largest firms in this market—Novolex (Heritage Bag Co. Inc.);
Berry Global Group Inc.; Inteplast Group Ltd.; Sigma Plastics Group; and Inteplast Group Ltd.
(Integrated Bagging System (IBS) Div./Pitt Plastics Div.) combined to consume 1,173.2 million lb of PE in 2017, representing roughly 75% of the market.
Mastio identifies Novolex as the market leader, at 22.8%, with Berry second at 21%.
According to the ONGREAT study, the resin most commonly utilized for institutional trash bags in 2017 was LLDPE.
LLDPE provides added strength and tears resistance vs. LDPE, which makes the film less apt to puncture.
LLDPE can be further downgauged without sacrificing strength.
Various grades of LLDPE utilized in this market identified by ONGREAT include LLDPE-hexene, LLDPE-butene,
LLDPE-octene, mLLDPE, and LLDPE-super hexene.
PCR was the fourth most commonly utilized material in the production of institutional trash bags during 2017.
The reported utilization of PCR included post-industrial scrap resins consisting of PCR-LLDPE, PCR-LDPE, and PCR-HDPE.
Cost savings and adherence to mandates of PCR content by a few states, such as California;
have also contributed to continued use of PCR in this market.
Lastly, the addition of biodegradable resin,
PLA polymers derived from corn and other renewable resources,
are being utilized as additives to facilitate decomposition through composting of the leftover institutional trash bags.
Many participants in this market continue to introduce the use of biodegradable resins,
such as polylactic acid (PLA) and synthetic polyesters in the production of institutional trash bags, Mastio says.
PLA is a corn-derived biodegradable plastic that is designed to biodegrade in any standard compost bin.
Monolayer blown film constructions remain the principal design for institutional trash bags—according to Mastio more than 92% of institutional can liners are single-layer blown films,
though multi-layer coextrusion technology allows film processors to incorporate the use of (PCR) and industrial scrap material as core layers in the production of institutional trash bags.
Additionally, LLDPE manufactured with the metallocene single-site catalyst process (mLLDPE),
when used in resin blends or in multi-layer film coextrusion, allows manufacturers to downgauge film without sacrificing film strength.
Recycling, as in many other PE film markets, is a concern for the majority of institutional trash bag manufacturers, Mastio reports.
In the consumer trash bag market, many companies are purchasing PCR or recycling their scrap material internally to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills
and to meet various state mandates for recycled resin content.
Several participants in this market are incorporating PCR in volumes ranging from 10% up to 100% in their institutional trash bags.
Increased use of PCR in this market is utilized in order to minimize costs in this highly competitive, low-margin market,
and as a way of complying with various state laws mandating recycled content, notes Mastio.