In a nutshell: More Latin American, more plastic and more sustainable. Those are the top descriptive phrases based on presentations at Thursday’s AWA Global Release Liner Conference & Exhibition 2011 in Chicago. Check out these Converting Curmudgeon bullet points distilled from talks given by AWA president/CEO Corey Reardon and AWA analyst Monique te Giffel:
- 33.981 billion sq meters of release liner were produced worldwide in 2010.
- Last year, North America and Europe each had about equal market shares of 32%; Asia-Pacific had nearly 29%; South America accounted for about 5% and Africa-Middle East made up the remaining few percent.
- In terms of applications, it’s no surprise that labelstocks commanded 51.5% of the global market in 2010. Tapes made up 12%, hygiene products 9.3% and industrial goods 8%. A wide variety of other products used the 19% remainder of the release-liner apps.
- As for liner types, 2010 global market shares were as follows: glassine/calendered kraft – 41.3%, clay-coated kraft – 15.4%, polyolefin-coated paper – 17%, other papers – 12%, and film – 14.3%.
- Now, to 2010-2015 growth rates: Overall, worldwide release-liner demand will rise 6.3% a year. South America will lead with 9.6% growth annually, followed closely by Asia-Pacific at 9%. Europe will see healthy increases of 6.9%, and the mature North American market will climb only 4.1% a year.
- South America is also different in terms of its release-liner apps compared to the rest of the world. A full two-thirds of the materials go toward labelstocks, 14% is used by hygiene products, 9% by graphic-arts goods, and 10% by all kinds of other products.
- The long-standing battle between paper-based and film-based release liners will continue with film taking a further few percentage points of market share globally over the next five years. New polyester-film capacity coming online this year and in 2012 will help bring costs down and make the substrate more competitive. PET liners are most prevalent in North America at 20% of the market, Asia-Pacific is next at 14.5%.
- Global release-liner suppliers and converters are certainly not immune from the sustainability bug. A majority of companies take measurable efforts to assist sustainability, recyclability and environmental initiatives. An average of about 20% say it’s very important to their businesses. Still, a minority of companies – only 38% – are involved in programs to recycle/reuse spent release liners.