Plastics film demand in the US will increase 2.6 per cent/year to 14.6 billion pounds to 2006, driven by cost and performance advantages over other materials, as well as technology and processing improvements. This prediction comes in a new study from The Freedonia Group.

While LDPE will remain dominant, it says, significantly better opportunities are expected for PP and HDPE film. Best growth is anticipated for the smaller EVA film segment due to increased demand for higher gas and moisture barrier properties.

Demand for LDPE, is projected to reach 8.7 billion pounds in 2006, based on its low cost, versatility and expanding use in snack and produce packaging, stretch and shrink wrap, and retail bags. Metallocene grades, which have better gloss, clarity and lower haze properties, are also becoming available. Further growth will be constrained by competition from other films, notably PP.

According to the study, demand for HDPE film will rise 3.5 per cent annually to 2006, to 2.4 billion pounds as a result of good opportunities in snack food packaging, and retail and refuse bags. Better growth, however, is anticipated in high molecular weight HDPE refuse bags.

Among the major resins, PP film demand is expected to expand the fastest, at 4.5 per cent yearly to 2006, with food packaging presenting the best opportunities. Further inroads will be constrained by the entrenched position of LDPE in many applications.

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