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Substantial growth expected for sustainable packaging

The global market for sustainable packaging is forecast to reach $244 billion by 2018, according to a new market report from Smithers Pira, “The Future of Sustainable Packaging to 2018.”

The report adds that sustainability programs are increasingly being seen as a source of innovation that can help in differentiating a company by appealing to the consciences of consumers. These programs also serve as a platform for new product and market development.

According to Smithers Pira, consumer demand and government legislation around the world are the leading drivers for the sustainable packaging agenda. Environmental awareness among a growing population of consumers is fueling demand for sustainability and the reduction of the impact of packaging on the environment.

According to the study, the most common trends in sustainable packaging are:
• Downsizing/lightweighting of packaging
• Increased recycling and waste recovery
• Increased use of recycled content
• Increased use of renewably sourced materials
• Improvements in packaging and logistical efficiency

In the recycled material packaging segment, paper packaging is the largest market, followed by metal, glass, and plastic. The demand for recycled plastics remains strong, but the material faces several challenges, including lack of infrastructure for collection and sorting, international market competition for existing recovered materials, and compliance with requirements related to food and drug content.

The biggest growth comes from the Asian market, driven by demand for sustainable packaging in countries like China and India, the report says. Boosted by a growing middle-class population that is increasingly becoming affluent and conscious of health and environmental issues, the demand for sustainable practices is driving the market for greener packaging. Smithers Pira forecasts that in 2018, Asia will be the largest market for sustainable packaging, accounting for 32% of the overall market.

According to the study, the issue of sustainable packaging will continue to grow in importance over the decade to 2023 and is predicted to become the number one challenge facing companies, beating cost and other issues by 2023.

For more information on the report, contact Bill Allen at, or +44 (0)1372 802086.


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