The global ‘green packaging’ market is set to grow by more than 60% by 2018 according to new research.
A report by Transparency Market Research, Green Packaging Market (Recycled, Reusable & Degradable) - Global Scenario, Trends, Industry Analysis, Size, Share and Forecast, 2011 – 2018, says that the growth is being driven by waste reduction targets, increasing awareness of carbon emissions, rapidly growing economies, a lack of natural resources, and consumers’ preference for eco-friendly products.
It says the market will be worth $178bn (£111bn) within five years.
Europe accounts for the highest share of the market, $41.3bn last year, followed by North America at $32.6bn However the highest growth is expected in India and China, driven by economic growth, especially in the food and drink industries, and increased awareness of green products.
Reusable and degradable packaging is expected to witness high growth rate in the Asia Pacific region from 2013 to 2018.
In the UK, 5.91m tonnes of packaging waste is estimated to be generated each year, around 20.1% of all waste, the report says, boosting the growth of the green packaging market.
Europe will continue to lead the market, thanks to higher levels of regulation and less landfill capacity, although North America and Japan will have slow growth rate.
Recycled packaging accounts for the highest market share of the market, forecast to grow 6.9% from 2013 to 2018. North America will have slow growth in recycled packaging but high growth in reusable packaging due to high energy consumption and higher costs of producing recycled packaging.
The biggest barriers to growth of the green packaging market is poor recycling infrastructure, limited consumer demand and regulatory concerns, according to the report. However, these are likely to be offset by advances in packaging technologies.
However, some industry operators say that the idea of “green” packaging is misleading. A report from PwC in June called for an end to the use of the term “sustainable packaging”, and a focus on maximising sustainability throughout the entire supply chain. This includes producing effective packaging with minimum resources, protecting the product and minimising product waste, transport efficiency and display efficiency, as well as effective after use disposal and recycling.
Responding to the Transparency Market Research report, Dick Searle, chief executive of the Packaging Federation, said: “Why is degradable packaging good? We need to stop talking about packaging waste. It isn’t waste, it’s packaging at end of life and we should focus on how to get the best value from it.”