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Following several years of subdued demand, the U.S. plastic foams industry is set to recover and start expanding over the years through 2017, according to an analysis published by Plastemart.

Analysts forecast that U.S. demand for plastic foams will increase over the next few years and will reach 8.6 billion pounds by 2017. Much of the anticipated rise in demand is attributed to the rapid growth of the domestic construction industry, which will push up demand for foam insulation products. Similarly, market opportunities for foam in household products will also be more favorable compared to previous years, as consumers now enjoy higher spending levels. Combined with increasing housing activity, this will lead to a spike in demand for furniture, appliances and bedding, including memory foam mattresses, the website said.

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However, the largest market segment for the plastic foams industry will still be packaging, accounting for nearly one third of the total output. Because of its maturity and relative stability, this segment is expected to record below-average growth rates. Nondurable goods like food products are predicted to secure stable demand for plastic foams for packaging.

The analysis pointed out that, on the one hand, growth of the industry will be challenged by environmental concerns, such as disposal issues and restrictions on using foam foodservice containers in various places in the United States. But on the other hand, these issues are likely to lead to increased demand for biodegradable packaging foams, Plastemart reported.