Among the technologies being developed include processes to develop alternative materials from plastic waste, novel processes and machinery to recover, separate and recycle plastic waste, recycling solutions and the development of biodegradable plastic solutions.
Other notable markets in terms of the development of innovative plastic technologies – although some way behind China and Japan – are the USA, Germany, South Korea, France, the UK, Italy, Taiwan and Austria.
The report analyses all global patent filings in this sector in the past two decades, highlighting the countries driving innovation activity.
Earlier this month, various nations initiated the initial phases of a legally enforceable accord aimed at worldwide plastic regulation. This milestone has been likened to the paramount environmental agreement since the 2015 Paris accord.
"Policy initiatives, alongside innovation, play a role in reducing the impact of plastic waste globally," commented Akshay Thaman, IP consultant and policy lead at GovGrant. "The increased policy measures to curb avoidable plastic waste, coupled with the increase in innovative activity in this area, suggests that there is political and societal pressure for novel solutions.
"The increase in innovative activity also suggests that this is becoming an increasingly competitive market and one that is still developing."
In addition, Raffi Schieir, director of Prevented Ocean Plastic, added, “Innovation in plastic technology is crucial, as businesses try to reduce their environmental impact and carbon footprint, but the single biggest area where they can have an immediate effect is to accelerate their use of recycled material."
Almost 26 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated in Europe every year.