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Global Sustainable Packaging Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

·7-min read

The sustainable packaging market (hereafter, referred to as the market studied) is expected to grow by registering a CAGR of 7. 55% during 2021-2026 (henceforth, referred to as the forecast period). With the outbreak of COVID-19, many companies have begun shifting away from banning plastic’s sustainability goal.

New York, June 20, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- announces the release of the report "Global Sustainable Packaging Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)" -
Some studies suggested that the virus can be passed on through cardboard and plastic, which resulted in increased usage of single-use materials across the supermarkets to wrap products, like cling film for fruit and vegetables.

Key Highlights
Sustainable packaging is the development and use of packaging, resulting in improved sustainability and involves increased use of life cycle inventory and life cycle assessment to help guide packaging, which reduces the environmental impact and ecological footprint.
In the past couple of years, the interest (particularly at a consumer level) in sustainability has surged. The concept of Circular Economic gained significant momentum, and this has also focused considerable attention on sustainable packaging. Further, governments on all continents have responded to public concerns regarding packaging waste, especially single-use packaging waste. They are implementing regulations to minimize environmental waste and improve waste management processes.
Additionally, some countries, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom are going above and beyond robust recycling regulations across the European Union with Extended Producer Responsibilities (EPRs). In Asia, Thailand recently announced the nationwide ban on single-use plastic bags at major stores effective January 1, 2020, and aimed for a full ban by the year 2021 to reduce plastic leakage into the environment.
According to Ocean Conservancy survey, every year, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter the ocean, which piled on the estimated 150 million metric tons already swirling in oceans globally, roughly the equivalent of dumping one New York City garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute of every day for a year. Based on the survey results, 2025 is anticipated to be a landmark year for sustainable packaging. A little over 40% foresee implementing new materials and sustainable strategies within five years. Already, companies are strategizing ways to build a circular economy with sustainable packaging, including leveraging biodegradable or compostable materials and redesigning packages to eliminate or reduce waste.
The increasing use of non-recyclable, non-biodegradable plastic packaging solutions leads to high carbon emissions in the environment. Thus, to reduce the carbon footprint in the environment, various major players such as Amazon, Google, Tetrapak, among others, are aiming to achieve net-zero, which is expected to be capital intensive.

Key Market Trends

Sustainable Plastic Packaging Solutions to Hold Major Share in Market

Over the forecast period, plastic pouches and bags are expected to remain a standard form of packaging due to their ability to retain the freshness of food products and extend the shelf life of products. In addition, the petroleum-based plastic pouches and bags also offer a great visible aesthetic and have sustainability which adds to the marketing benefits of products.
The companies focus on developing bio-based PVCs, owing to their increasing preference for sustainable packaging. In October 2021, Cargill announced the addition of BioveroÔ bio-based plasticizer to its bio-industrial solutions portfolio, which is used for a wide variety of product manufacturing applications such as flooring, clothing, wires, cables, and plastic films and sheets for its industrial customers throughout North America, with plans to expand the product globally. Such instances are expected to drive the adoption of sustainable PVCs in the coming years.
Also, players are offering new technology integrating sustainable plastic packaging. In May 2020, EU Project YPACK developed innovative sustainable plastic food packaging extending food shelf life. YPACK’s compostable packaging is made from sustainable biopolymer, poly (3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxy valerate) (PHBV), produced by-products cheese whey and micro-cellulose from almond shells.
The United States Food and Drug Administration has recognized PLA plastic as safe for all food packaging applications and widely used in many disposable packaging applications. Additional applications of PLA include automobiles, textiles, foams, and films. Vendors such as WeforYou, a developer and producer of biopolymers and sustainable packaging solutions, offer pure PLA bags, PLA compounds, as well as a laboratory and compound service. PLA plastics are more expensive when compared to traditional petroleum-based plastics; however, they have less mechanical and physical properties in contrast.
In another research study conducted by the Department of Plant Agriculture, Crop Science Building, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, scientists could produce a sustainable green composite based on poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) and agave fiber.

Asia Pacific Expected To Have Significant Growth

The major Chinese express delivery companies and e-commerce platforms have been taking active measures to reduce the usage of packaging materials. For instance, SF Express was using recyclable packaging boxes, which can be reused an average of about ten times. The company has adopted more than 100,000 such boxes in domestic first-tier cities and some second-tier cities, primarily to replace paper boxes and plastic bags to reduce the consumption of foam blocks and tape. The company also stated that its efforts respond to the country’s call for sustainable development of the logistics industry.
In Aug 2020, the guideline was issued by eight departments, that included the State Post Bureau (SPB), China’s postal authority, that the country will implement mandatory national standards to ensure that the express delivery industry makes use of hazard-free packaging materials, thereby establishing a comprehensive sustainable packaging standard system with clear priorities and an optimized structure by 2022. According to the requirements of the guideline, the related departments will need to improve their sustainable packaging standard system for the entire process, right from design, materials, and recycling to disposal.
Manufacturers have also been focusing on the increased use of corn, sugar, and other crops to develop biodegradable plastics, as concerns about environmental pollution have encouraged directives from Beijing and the prospects of a ban on conventional plastics, like single-use non-biodegradable plastics, such as cutlery, plastic bags, and packaging. Recently, the Jilin Province and the tropical island of Hainan planned to impose broader bans on single-use plastics and food-service items that are not biodegradable by mid-2021.
Further, the rise of the Indian middle class, the rapid expansion of organized retail, the growth of exports, and India’s rising e-commerce sector is expected to facilitate further growth. This has led to the need for sustainable packaging that can ensure less environmental impact simultaneously ensuring the best quality; thus, adopting sustainable packaging solutions to ensure less environmental pollution has become very important for businesses across the country.
According to Capgemini’s recent study on sustainability and changing consumer behavior, 79% of the consumers are changing their purchase preferences primarily based on social responsibility, inclusiveness, and environmental impact. 53% of the consumers and 57% in the 18-24 have switched to less popular brands as they were sustainable. Around 52% of the consumers said they share an emotional connection with the products or organizations they perceive as sustainable.

Competitive Landscape

The sustainable packaging market is highly fragmented. Some of the key players are Amcor Limited, TetraPak International S.A., Mondi plc, WestRock Compan, BASF SE, Sonoco Products Company, Smurfit Kappa Group PLC, Sealed Air Corporation, and Huhtamaki OYJ.

October 2021: Nestlé Mexico partnered with Greenback Recycling Technologies and Enval to bring a chemical recycling plant for sustainable, flexible plastic packaging. It intends to promote a closed-loop economy for food-grade plastic, including multilayer flexible plastic and aluminum-laminated variants. The facility will include a microwave-induced pyrolysis technology, turning plastic into oil feedstock. It will then be used to create new plastic, turning even unrecyclable items into valuable and sustainable ones. Such instances are expected to boost the demand for flexible packaging, including pouches.
September 2021: Heinz partnered with WestRock to replace shrink-wrapped multipacks of Heinz Beanz, Heinz soups, and Heinz pasta varieties on supermarket shelves with recyclable paperboard developed by WestRock. The Heinz Eco-Friendly Sleeve is recyclable and comes from sustainably managed forests. The innovative wrap design uses no glue and 50% less material than a fully enclosed wraparound box and 10% less than a traditional paperboard sleeve design.

Additional Benefits:

The market estimate (ME) sheet in Excel format
3 months of analyst support
Read the full report:

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