US green packaging demand to top $42 billion in 2014
US demand for recycled content, reusable and biodegradable packaging is projected to exceed $42 billion in 2014. Growth will outpace overall packaging but will be moderated by the maturity of many products and the already-high prevalence of recycled content in paperboard and metal packaging. Advances for green packaging will be driven by the increased prominence of environmental issues as a result of elevated raw material and fuel costs. This has resulted in heightened activity among product manufacturers and packaging companies to offer product lines that reduce costs and that are more environmentally friendly.
Recycled plastic packaging among fastest growing types
Stimulants promoting solid advances for recycled content plastic packaging will include increased collection activity and processing volume of recycled material, especially food-contact approved resin grades. Gains will also be helped by rising interest among packaged goods producers and retailers in improving the environmental friendliness of their packaging. Preventing faster growth will be supply limitations due to competition for recovered materials from nonpackaging users and the significant level of recycled PET that is exported from the US. Glass recycled content packaging demand will outpace the green packaging average as a result of rising recycling rates for glass containers and concerted efforts by glass packagers to increase collection and incorporate higher levels of recycled content in glass containers.
Reusable packaging to grow at above-average pace
Reusable packaging demand is forecast to expand at an above-average pace, the result of improved manufacturing output as the economy recovers from the recession that began in December 2007. Demand for reusable plastic containers and intermediate bulk containers will expand above the average pace. Good opportunities for reusable insulated shipping containers will be based on rapid growth for temperature-sensitive biotechnology-based drugs. Though reusable drum demand will benefit from an expected rebound in chemical production from a severe downturn in 2009, prospects will be tempered by competition from larger capacity products such as intermediate bulk containers.
Cups, plates, bowls and containers to pace biodegradable segment
Among biodegradable packaging applications, the fastest gains are expected in cups, plates and bowls; and containers. Opportunities in cups, plates and bowls will be stimulated by lower costs, greater product availability, increased spending at eating and drinking places, and growing interest among consumers and restaurants in green products. Gains for containers will be supported by increased cost competitiveness compared to petroleum-based resins, and material performance improvements.
Non-biodegradable “green” plastics to debut in 2011
The green packaging market will be further expanded by the emergence of non-biodegradable plant-based plastics in commercial quantities, such as polyethylene from sugar cane-based ethanol. Packaging from “green” polyethylene will make its debut in the US in 2011. Though higher in price than traditional resins, the willingness of many consumers to pay a modest premium for biobased materials will assure a significant market for these materials.
US Demand for Green Packaging to Reach $41.7 Billion in 2014
Demand for green packaging -- comprised of recycled content, reusable and degradable packaging -- is projected to increase 3.9 percent yearly to $41.7 billion in 2014, consuming 58 billion pounds of material. Growth will outpace overall packaging demand but will remain relatively moderate due to the maturity of many products and the large existing presence of recycled content packaging in paperboard and metal packaging. The fastest gains are anticipated for degradable packaging and plastic recycled content packaging. These and other trends are presented in Green Packaging, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
Degradable packaging is forecast to expand 13.6 percent annually to $685 million in 2014, driven by price competitiveness with conventional resins, capacity expansions and rising demand for environmentally friendly manufactured goods. Advances will also be based on enhanced performance properties resulting from blending and other modifications, initiatives by brand owners to improve the environmental footprint of their packaging, and legislative bans on polystyrene foam foodservice disposables in some parts of the country. Preventing faster advances will be the maturity of some product types (e.g., ring carriers, loose-fill), the lack of consumer composting networks in most areas of the US, and competition from emerging green packaging materials such as non-biodegradable bioplastics.
Recycled content packaging constitutes the vast majority of green packaging and demand is forecast to increase 3.6 percent annually to $37.3 billion in 2014. Gains will be supported by increased collection activity and processing capacity, coupled with greater use of recycled content packaging by firms seeking to demonstrate environmental responsibility and differentiate their products. Robust growth is anticipated for plastic recycled content packaging based on more concerted collection efforts and expanded processing capacity, especially for food-contact approved resin grades.
Reusable packaging demand is expected to post above-average growth through 2014, improving from the 2004-2009 pace based on a rebound in manufacturing activity from a weak base in 2009. Demand for reusable plastic containers and intermediate bulk containers will benefit from an upswing in manufacturing activity and inroads into lower capacity packaging types such as drums, pails and shipping sacks.