Our industry

Discover the economic aspect of the plastics industry


Plastiwin storytelling


In 2019, global plastic production was 368 million tons. Asian countries dominate the market with a 51% market share.

Ranking 7th worldwide, Europe contributes 16% to its production, approximately 58 million tons (4 million less than in 2018), while maintaining a positive trade balance of 13.1 billion euros in 2019, thus contributing 28.5 billion euros to public finances.


Share of plastic used in different sectors

Application Markets

Among application markets, different industries benefit from the added value provided by plastic materials. Indeed, the packaging industry attracts 39.6% of plastic consumption, followed by the construction and building sectors (20.4%), automotive (9.6%), electrical and electronics (6.2%), household/sports and leisure (4.1%), agriculture (3.4%), and other sectors (16.7%).

Employment and Turnover

The plastics industry is a major employer. In Europe, our industry employed over 1.56 million people in 55,000 companies in 2019. In Belgium, 33,113 people are employed, with 72% working in the transformation of plastic materials. These jobs generate nearly 350 billion euros in turnover in Europe, including 14.2 billion in Belgium. Among Plastiwin members, companies currently employ 10,500 people and generate a turnover of 2.5 billion euros.

Ecocircularity and Sustainability

Thanks to improved recycling capacities in Europe, the plastics industry is accelerating its transition to a circular economy. This includes increasing recycled waste from 4.6 million tons in 2006 to 9.4 million tons in 2019, and reducing plastic waste exports outside the EU by 39% (from 2016 to 2018).


Recycle plastic integration markets

Recycled Materials

In 2018, 4 million tons of recycled materials (80%) were integrated into new products in Europe. The remaining 20% were sold outside Europe.

In 2018, Belgium generated 610 kT of post-consumer plastic waste, 34% of which was recycled. A more intensive selective collection of plastic waste, for example by extending the blue PMD bag to all plastic packaging, will further increase the amount of plastic waste available for recycling.

Key Figures in Belgium (2018)

  • Over 30,000 jobs
  • 14.2 billion euros in turnover
  • 630 million euros in investment