Global Recycled Materials Packaging Market Growth, Trends, and Forecast

Growing Conscientious Population Adopting Sustainable Solutions

World population has exceeded 7.2 billion, out of which, it is estimated 2.5 billion are ‘millennials’ (of the age 15-35), and unlike the other generations they actually share a deep concern about environmental issues. Majority of these consumers are skeptical about the corporate responsibility claims made and have brought an ethical consumer revolution demanding ethically produced goods.

According to a study done by Wrap, a social organization in the United Kingdom, that works with businesses together in order to drive social and economic improvement within the environmental limits of the planet by making the use of resources and production of goods more efficient and sustainable, 82% of the customers are concerned about wasteful packaging, while 35% consider what packaging is made of when buying in-store and 62% do consider what the packing material is made of when they come to dispose it.

Further, according to a similar study done by Carton Council of North America, 86% of the consumers expect food & beverage brands to actively help to recycle their packages and 45% of them said, that their loyalty to a food & beverage brand would be impacted by the brands engagement with environmental causes, thus driving the demand for recycled materials for packaging. (Source: Carton Council of North America)

Paper Based Packaging Solutions to Dominate the Market

Companies around the world are adopting sustainable packaging solutions, which include usage of biodegradable paper and recyclable paper. Both the markets are witnessing huge adoption owing to cleaner environment movements across the globe. However, recycling remains one of the major trends observed in the industry. Although paper products are biodegradable, the process has been identified to be inconsistent in landfills owing to the presence of external elements. The impact of landfills is creating concerns among the municipalities. Thus, governments and organizations are pushing recycling over landfill disposables, with biodegradable packaging having high recyclability, owing to the absence of additional artificial elements. As product recyclability is growing, many industries are demanding recycled paper products over virgin solutions, owing to their lower energy consumption.

Chinese Market Expected To Witness Turbulence

Stricter enforcement of regulations on food safety, clean production, hygienic packaging, together with modern Chinese consumers’ sophisticated requirements and attitudes toward product packaging, has pressured large downstream clients to progressively implement advanced, innovative, environmental-friendly packaging solutions.

At the end of 2017, China banned most imports of foreign recyclables to focus on waste produced by its residents. The country had been the largest world market for plastics and other recycled materials.
This specifically targets imports of plastics scrap for recycling, and could include tighter customs controls nationwide and restrictions on imported waste plastics coming into China through smaller ports.
As a result, only 9.3 tonnes of plastic scrap was approved to enter China in January 2018. It is stressed that this is more than a 99% reduction as compared with the 3.8+ million tonnes approved to be imported at the start of 2017. The drastic change has caused the market with a supply gap of around 5 million tonnes of plastic scrap.