The global sustainable packaging market size was around USD 311.51 Billion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 567.90 Billion by 2031, expanding at a CAGR of 6.9% during the forecast period, 2023 – 2031. The market growth is attributed to the strict government regulations toward sustainable development and the growing demand for recycled packaging materials in the packaging industry.
Sustainable packaging, also known as green packaging, refers to a range of eco-friendly packaging that can be easily decomposed or recycled after use. Such packaging is largely made from renewable materials that have less carbon footprint and environmental impact during their development, operation, and after use.
Using sustainable packaging is an ideal option to reduce the exploitation and depletion of natural resources that will ensure a sustainable environment. It is one of the core aspects for attaining the goal of global sustainable development and numerous businesses are increasingly opting for sustainable business development models to create a positive brand image.
Plastic, paper & paperboard, metal, and glass are major packaging materials widely used for recycling as these materials are easily recyclable to make them reusable in the future. Considering the rising importance of sustainable development and operation benefits of using eco-friendly materials, sustainable packaging is extensively used by several end-users such as food & beverages, healthcare, chemicals, and personal care sectors.
Waste management and preservation of natural resources are key aspects of sustainable development that drive the use of recyclable and biodegradable materials for packaging. Rising concerns about the deteriorating marine ecosystem, impacted by the increasing plastic dumping in oceans and seas, present an alarming call for sustainable packaging solutions.
Dispose of single-use plastic is causing pollution by releasing toxic and harmful chemicals from plastics, which poses a major environmental concern. Sustainable packaging helps in minimizing material waste and tackles environmental pollution caused by packaging waste.
COVID-19 Impact on Sustainable Packaging Market
The report finds that the COVID-19 pandemic hampered the overall revenue of the global sustainable packaging market due to the sharp decline in manufacturing consumer products worldwide. As a part of preventive measures imposed by governments across countries to curb the virus spread, the prolonged shutdown of factories across industries had plummeted the overall demand for packaging.
Moreover, the sudden disruption in the supply chain especially the lack of timely supply of raw materials forced packaging manufacturers to either delay their production or reschedule their existing projects. With the rapid subsiding of COVID-19 cases globally, several manufacturing units across industries resumed their production, which opened up growth opportunities for the packing industry.
Increasing relaxation of government restrictions and recovery of global trade played major roles in the growing demand for packaging. The massive growth of food delivery services and e-commerce platforms supplying essential items during the pandemic allowed packaging manufacturers to generate revenues in the global sustainable packaging market.
Sustainable Packaging Market Dynamics
The research report presents a complete overview by providing detailed information about the current market trends, existing drivers, growth opportunities and potentials, and emerging challenges of the global market. The global sustainable packaging market report has up-to-date insights about market dynamics and market scenarios that can shape the overall market performance and output during the forecast period, 2023 to 2031.
Wide adoption of paper and bioplastics packing among e-commerce platforms is one of the key market trends that are likely to have a major positive impact on the market. The rapid development of online channels is largely influenced by the rising number of smartphone users and their preference for online shopping.
The rising expansion of the e-commerce sector and their increasing use of post-industrial or post-consumer reusable cardboard and recyclable papers present a key aspect of the market.
Moreover, the strict government regulations for e-commerce service providers to reduce single-use plastics for packaging further open up several opportunities for market expansion. The environmental impact of packaging designs remains a key concern for e-commerce platforms to attract more customers and reduce environmental problems at the same time.
Increasing consumer awareness regarding sustainable packaging
Consumers consider several factors such as brand image and packaging designs of companies before buying a product. Owing to government awareness programs and policies, consumers are well aware of sustainable products and their role in environmental protection. Many companies are facing sharp criticisms from different consumer groups over packaging products and are under pressure to adopt sustainable packaging solutions.
Over the recent years, several incidents happened around the world that forced many companies to invest more in R&D programs for the development of recyclable packaging and extend support to various governments’ initiatives for sustainable development.
For instance, in January 2021, a Switzerland-based food and drink processing conglomerate, Nestlé S.A. announced that it planned to invest nearly USD 2.03 billion in innovative sustainable packaging solutions. The investment was part of Nestlé S.A.’s 2018 commitment to use 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025.
Growing demand for biodegradable packaging from the food & beverages industry
The increasing demand for biodegradable packaging from the food & beverages industry presents a key factor driving the global market. Food & beverage manufacturers are increasingly adopting recycled and reusable packaging materials to reduce packaging waste, in compliance with government regulations.
Moreover, the rapid expansion of food delivery services globally further accelerates the demand for biodegradable packaging, which constitutes a major share of revenue generation in the global market. The rising shift to green packaging by food and beverage manufacturers helps in creating a positive brand image for customers in addition to their contribution toward environmental protection.
Moreover, packed foods and beverages have a longer shelf life and can be stored by retaining the freshness of food products, thereby, propelling the demand for sustainable packaging among food and beverage manufacturers.
Wide availability of low-cost alternative solutions to sustainable packaging such as paper bubble wrap, paper tape, and cornstarch packaging acts as a major factor restraining the global sustainable packaging market growth. The recycling processing of packaging materials is relatively a costly affair and the price fluctuation of raw materials poses major challenges to the market.
Moreover, the lack of recycling facilities and insufficient storage units, especially in developing regions further creates challenges that can hamper the overall market growth in the coming years.
As governments across the globe are aware of the existing threats associated with environmental issues, several initiatives and policies have been implemented to encourage sustainable packaging manufacturers. Favorable government initiatives granting subsidies to packaging manufacturers, especially in developed countries present lucrative opportunities for market players to boost their existing production volume.
Under the impression of these government initiatives, major market players have started investing in the development of various recycling programs for waste packaging materials, released from industries and various commercial units.
Scope of Sustainable Packaging Market Report
The global sustainable packaging market research report includes an assessment of the market trends, segments, and regional markets. Overview and dynamics have also been included in the report.
Sustainable Packaging Market - Global Industry Analysis, Growth, Share, Size, Trends, and Forecast
Product (Bags & Pouches, Drums, Corrugated Box, Tubes, and Others), Type (Recycled Content Packaging, Degradable Packaging, and Reusable Packaging), Material (Plastic, Paper & Paperboard, Metal, Glass, and Others), and Application (Food & Beverages, Healthcare, Chemicals, Personal Care, and Others)
Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America, Europe, and Middle East & Africa
Company Share, Market Analysis and Size, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Market Trends, and Revenue Forecast
Key Players Covered in the Report
Ardagh Group S.A.; BASF SE; Amcor plc; Sonoco Products Company; DuPont; DS Smith; Pactiv Evergreen Inc.; Mondi; Silgan Holdings Inc.; Smurfit Kappa; Ball Corporation; Dow; Sealed Air; The Tetra Laval Group; and Be Green Packaging
Sustainable Packaging Market Segment Insights
Product Segment Analysis
On the basis of product, the global sustainable packaging market is segmented into bags & pouches, drums, corrugated box, tubes, and others. The corrugated box segment is expected to register a steady growth rate during the forecast period owing to the extensive use of the box as a shipping container.
Manufacturers across industries need light but durable shipping boxes that can ensure the safety and protection of packed products during transport as this sort of packaging is meant for a longer storage duration.
Passing through several distribution channels from manufacturing to end-users, corrugated boxes are widely found effective in multiple handlings and long-term storage. Corrugated boxes or cartons normally consist of three layers of corrugated papers namely an outside liner, an inside liner, and a medium liner that forms an indented line between insider and outside liners.
The drums segment accounted for a major market share in 2021 and is projected to expand considerably in the coming years owing to the wide application of drums as bulk containers for liquid items.
Drums are extensively used as major storage of fluids, especially related to chemicals and oils, and are largely used for oversea transport on sea vessels. These containers are mainly made from plastic materials and can be reused multiple times for commercial transport across industries.
Type Segment Analysis
Based on type, the global market is divided into recycled content packaging, degradable packaging, and reusable packaging. The recycled content packaging segment constituted a major share, accounting for over 60% share of the overall market revenue in 2021, and is anticipated to exhibit a substantial CAGR during the forecast period.
The segment growth is attributed to the increasing use of recycled materials as major raw materials of packaging across industries. Recycled particles are extracted from waste materials, which are reprocessed by packaging manufacturers to make them reusable for various industrial applications.
A range of biodegradable wastes including paper, glass, plastics, and metal used for electronics, food containers, and textiles are largely recycled for future use using various recycling procedures.
Material Segment Analysis
In terms of material, the global sustainable packaging market is categorized as plastic, paper & paperboard, metal, glass, and others. The plastic segment accounted for a sizeable market share in 2021 and is expected to expand significantly during the projected period owing to the wide application of plastic materials in the packaging industry.
The rising shift to degradable plastics by manufacturers, impacted by the rapid introduction of recycled plastics and strict government policies towards the disposal of single-use plastics, presents another key driver of the segment. Plastic packaging materials are flexible, low-cost, and durable that provide easy protection for fragile and sensitive products.
For durable products such as food and beverage products, plastic packaging ensures the expansion of the shelf life of packed items and retains the freshness of foods. The paper & paperboard segment is anticipated to account for a major market share in the coming years as the material is widely used in food packaging, especially in bakery products and food delivery.
A range of paper materials such as corrugated papers and coated papers are extensively used as boxes, pouches, and bulk containers that have wide applications in the warehousing sector. Paper packaging can be easily recycled and made into flexible designs for various applications, which is a major factor driving the segment.
Application Segment Analysis
On the basis of application, the global market is segregated into food & beverages, healthcare, chemicals, personal care, and others. The food & beverages segment dominated the market, representing over 57.5% share of the global market revenue in 2021, and the trend is likely to continue during the projected period owing to the rising demand for sustainable packaging from food and beverage manufacturers.
Degradable and recyclable packaging is widely used for packing a variety of food and beverage items including fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, juice, and soft drinks, which can be stored for a long period of time. Packed food and beverages are mostly designed to retain their natural nutrients and prevent them from the deterioration that can be used for instant consumption or keeping them for future consumption.
The rapid expansion of food delivery services, fast-food restaurants, and hotels across the globe is a key factor boosting the use of sustainable packaging in the food & beverages industry. The healthcare segment is anticipated to account for a considerable market size during the assessment period owing to the extensive use of green packaging solutions such as aluminum foil, glasses, and degradable plastics for various pharmaceutical products.
Such packaging offers non-reactive medicines including capsules, syrups, and tablets that retain the essential nutrition of different drugs. Moreover, the increasing use of eco-friendly materials for disposable medical items among hospitals and clinics further fuels segment growth.
In terms of region, the global sustainable packaging market is broadly classified into Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America, Europe, and Middle East & Africa.
Europe accounted for a dominant market share, holding more than 35.5% share of the global market revenue in 2021, and the market in the region is projected to dominate the market during the forecast period. The significant regional market growth is attributed to the strict government regulations toward a sustainable environment and reducing carbon footprint from industries in the region.
As part of various green initiatives taken by key regional organizations such as the European Union (EU), the majority of European countries already issued guidelines for industries toward sustainable development goals. European sustainable goals mainly focus on the mode of economic development or business production by relying on the use of renewable and recycled materials.
Sustainable packaging is a major aspect of the overall sustainable programs in Europe that emphasizes the use of recycling and reusable packaging materials including plastics. Stringent government regulations to reduce the use of single-use plastics across industries play a key role in the market expansion in Europe.
Asia Pacific is one of the fastest-growing markets and is expected to constitute a major share of the global sustainable packaging market in the coming years. The market growth in Asia pacific is largely influenced by the rapid expansion of e-commerce platforms and retail to meet the rising demand for consumer goods by a large pool of the regional population.
The increasing establishment of various manufacturing plants in emerging economies such as China, India, and South Korea presents a key factor boosting the regional market. With the massive investment in renewable projects in the region, governments started implementing policies in their respective countries to encourage manufacturers to opt for eco-friendly packaging solutions.
The region has emerged as a major manufacturing hub and a key destination for new factories from leading global companies. Such developments are likely to propel the demand for sustainable packaging solutions from industries operating in Asia Pacific, which is another major factor that can fuel the regional market.
The global sustainable packaging market has been segmented on the basis of
- Bags & Pouches
- Corrugated Box
- Recycled Content Packaging
- Degradable Packaging
- Reusable Packaging
- Paper & Paperboard
- Food & Beverages
- Personal Care
- Asia Pacific
- North America
- Latin America
- Middle East & Africa
- Ardagh Group S.A.
- BASF SE
- Amcor plc
- Sonoco Products Company
- DS Smith
- Pactiv Evergreen Inc.
- Silgan Holdings Inc.
- Smurfit Kappa
- Ball Corporation
- Sealed Air
- The Tetra Laval Group
- Be Green Packaging
Major players competing in the global sustainable packaging market are Ardagh Group S.A.; BASF SE; Amcor plc; Sonoco Products Company; DuPont; DS Smith; Pactiv Evergreen Inc.; Mondi; Silgan Holdings Inc.; Smurfit Kappa; Ball Corporation; Dow; Sealed Air; The Tetra Laval Group; and Be Green Packaging.
Some of these companies have adopted several market strategies such as merger and acquisition, collaboration or partnership, new products launch, R&D activities, and expansion of manufacturing units to enhance their business portfolios and market competency. For instance,
- On September 23, 2022, a leading American-Australian global packaging company, Amcor plc launched its sustainable packaging solution, DairySeal using advanced features of a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) barrier. The introduction of this new packaging solution is likely to provide more sustainable packaging options for companies associated with dairy alternatives, nutritional, and ready-to-drink markets across the globe. As per the manufacturer, the new packaging is made using 80% of recyclable material that would ensure more flexibility and resin options.
- On April 29, 2022, a major Luxembourg-based packaging and labeling company, Ardagh Group S.A. (Ardagh) announced its acquisition of Consol Holdings Proprietary Limited in a deal worth USD 1 billion. With the acquisition, Ardagh aimed at expanding its glass packaging solutions serving across industries in Africa. As per the official website, Ardagh currently has 65 production facilities in 16 countries with nearly 20,000 employees and has annual sales of about USD 10 billion.