Demand for green packaging – comprised of recycled content, reusable and degradable packaging – is projected to increase 3.9 percent yearly to USD 41.7 billion in 2014, consuming 58 billion pounds of material, says The Freedonia Group, a market research firm. According to Freedonia’s new study, Green Packaging, 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.
Degradable packaging is forecast to expand 13.6 percent annually to USD685 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 nonbiodegradable bioplastics.
Recycled content packaging constitutes the vast majority of green packaging and demand is forecast to increase 3.6 percent annually to USD37.3 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.