Synthetic Paper Industry

Published - Apr 2001| Analyst - Melvin Schlechter| Code - PLS023A
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Report Highlights

  • The synthetic paper market can be measured in several ways: millions of square inches (MSI), dollar value, or volume in pounds. MSI is not an effective means because synthetic paper is made in various thicknesses usually recorded in mils. Dollar values, by themselves, are arbitrary and are ineffective in evaluating markets.
  • This report chose volume as the synthetic paper market indicator whereby the estimated 110 million-pound market will increase to about 165 million pounds by 2005. Current market value is pegged at slightly over $200 million.



The objective of this study is to provide an analysis of the synthetic paper market which has undergone significant changes within the last 5 years due to presence of increased offshore products, more players, and shifts in market strategies.


Although synthetic paper has been commercial since the mid-1980s, this niche market has undergone a dramatic change in market emphasis. Initially aimed at replacing fiber-based paper, synthetic paper has, in addition, begun to encroach on plastic-based applications¾most prominently in labels and tags.

Increases in imported products, completion of two new large North American plants, appearance of additional film converters and distributors, and upgraded technologies have altered the face of this market. As a result, there is a need to define and assess this market which is valued at several hundred million dollars.


The term "synthetic paper" has not been universally defined because it is basically an opaque plastic film that is both printable and writeable. Although the market has gone beyond its original intentions, this report will include those products which producers, converters and distributors market as "synthetic paper" even though, in many instances, it replaces a non-fiber based paper product such as plastic films. Actually, the distinction between synthetic paper and white, opaque printable films has not been resolved.

This report will describe the various polymer films used to produce "synthetic paper," fillers and coatings used in manufacturing, printing processes, new technologies, and applications. We will discuss in detail the major players and their respective products, industry structure, patent review, pricing, market estimates and forecasts by major application and other critical aspects of the market.


A comprehensive review of technical and market information along with a careful analysis of product literature was undertaken. Interviews were completed with major producers, film converters and distributors to clear up unresolved problems.


In order to ease reading of this report, many acronyms were used. The following is an alphabetical list of acronyms used in this report.

BOPET Biaxially oriented PET
BOPP/OPP Biaxially oriented PP/Oriented PP
BOPS/OPS Biaxially oriented PS/oriented PS
EVOH Ethylene vinyl Alcohol
HDPE High-Density Polyethylene
HIPS High-Impact Polystyrene
HMWHDPE High Molecular Weight HDPE
IML In-Mold Labeling
LDPE Low-Density Polyethylene
LLDPE Linear Low-Density Polyethylene
MLS Multilayer Structure
MVTR Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate
MW Molecular Weight
NOPP Non-Oriented PP
PET Polyethylene Terephthalate
PP Polypropylene
PS Polystyrene
PVC Polyvinyl Chloride
PVdC Polyvinylidene Chloride
RI Refractive Index
UHMWPE Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene
VIP Variable Information Printing

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