The Single-use Plastic Packaging market is expected to reach a CAGR of approximately 4.2% over the forecast period (2021 - 2026). The COVID-19 pandemic provided significant relief to the single-use packaging vendors. Although many countries were slowly banning such packaging and promoting reusable packaging, the outbreak changed the consumers’ and governments’ behavior toward them.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the demand for nutritional drinks and healthy food increased exponentially. The majority of these products are packaged with single-use plastic. The orders were so huge on a global level that the manufacturers and packaging companies in the field even expanded their facilities, which was also supported by most of the governments.
- Factors driving the market’s growth include the growing demand for online food delivery services and the use of single-use packaging that offers increased convenience and utility. Single-use plastics are still being considerably used due to their lightweight and durable properties compared to other materials, despite having significant effects on the environment. However, the effect of the driver will gradually decrease once alternatives to single-use plastics gain significant traction in the market.
- According to Business Insider, online packaged food sales in the United States are expected to reach USD 166 billion in 2021 from USD 6 billion in 2012. The growth in end-user industry consumption is also increasing the demand for single-use packaging. Most of these end-users are adopting single-use packaging due to their low cost and easy availability. This has also affected the recycling industry across the world.
- Several companies are switching their production lines from plastic to natural fiber-based options due to the ban on single-use plastics in several countries. For instance, BFG Eco Packaging, which makes boxes, plates, and trays from polystyrene and polypropylene, makes products using sugarcane fiber, a sub-product obtained during the sugar manufacturing process. Also, banking on the fiber-based macro trend is Vegware, a UK packaging manufacturer, which uses renewable plant-based materials as the natural fibers provide an economical, sturdy takeaway box.
- The EU’s ban on a range of single-use plastic items by 2021 came under threat as more consumers and restaurants became more dependent on disposable plastic products due to contagion fears. Consumers and vendors prefer single-use plastic to reusable plastic products. For instance, given the pandemic, Starbucks announced a temporary pause on reusable cups across its global outlets.
Key Market Trends
PET is Expected to Witness Significant Growth
- PET, among the raw material resin, is the dominant material capturing a market segment of more than 80% due to the easiness with which the physical property is altered to suit a wide variety of customer’s needs while maintaining low costs. - Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is used for carbonated drinks packaging due to its high impact-resistant nature and improved moisture and gas barrier properties. They have a rigid structure with high strength. ?Moreover, compared to high-density polyethylene (HDPE) packaging, the glossy appearance of PET bottles with ultraviolet barriers often stand out for extending the shelf life of products, making the glass-like transparency a standard for a variety of packaging. - For instance, in February 2021, Coca-Cola’s trademark brands, which include Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, and Coca-Cola Flavors, introduced a 13.2-oz. bottle made from 100% recycled PET (rPET) plastic in California, Florida, and select states in the Northeast, with other sparkling beverage brands following this summer. - The rate of recycling of PET packaging highly depends on the availability and accessibility of recycling infrastructure and therefore serves as a significant factor impacting the growth of the market in a particular region. For instance, currently, 94 percent of U.S. residents living in communities with a population of more than 125,000 have recycling programs available to them. - The vendors in the market are focusing on increasing the recyclability of PET single use packaging in order to adhere to the regulations as well as create a closed loop cycle in terms of recycling. The increasing emphasis on recycling of these materials is expected to provide growth prospects to PET single use packaging.
North America to Witness Moderate Growth
- The food service industry is one of the prominent end-user industries that hold a significant share in the cups and lids market. The growth of online food delivery services augmented the demand for food cups. Among regions, the United States is the second-largest food market across the world. The volume of plastic allocated to food packaging amounts to approximately 40% of plastics. Moreover, according to the US Census Bureau, the total foodservice sales in the United States amounted to USD 6.02 million.
- The government enforcements also harm the market. However, due to the ongoing pandemic New York State’s ban on single-use plastic bags, which went into effect on March 1, 2020, it was postponed to May 15, 2020. Such a spike in plastic demand would likely lead to a temporary change in the short-term initiatives and goals of transitioning to a circular economy. Apart from this, it is likely to put pressure on the plastic manufacturing chain.
- Moreover, in October 2020, the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced over USD 27 million in funding for 12 projects that will support the development of advanced plastics recycling technologies and new plastics that are recyclable-by-design.
- As part of DOE’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, these projects will also help improve existing recycling processes that break plastics into chemical building blocks, which can then be used to make new products. Such initiatives might support the single-use plastic packaging market
- In spite ofthe regulatory measures that have been on the table for the last few years in the region, the COVID-19 pandemic has stalled the imposition of such legislation and has provided the market with a much-needed lifer for the time. The pandemic has effectively postponed the legislative process of the European Union for the transposition of the EU Single-Use Plastic Directive (SUPD) into domestic law. For instance, Italy’s Plastic tax has been postponed from 2020 to 2021, with Marevivo, the maritime protection agency of the country, encouraging a complete ban on plastic cups.
The Global Single-Use Plastic Packaging Market is Highly Consolidated . The competitive rivalry amongst the players in the single-use packaging market is high owing to the presence of some key players such as Dart Container Corporation?, Georgia-Pacific LLC, Graphic Packaging International, Inc., etc. Through strategic partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions, these players have been able to gain a stronger footprint in the market.
- May 2021- European thermoforming packaging specialist Waddington Europe, a division of Novolex, upgraded its TamperVisible range of protective packaging products by adding a pioneered Hot Fill option. The TamperVisible range of products reassures the end-user that the food inside is as safe as the day it was prepared. - May 2021 -Interfor Corporation signed an agreement with Georgia-Pacific Wood Products LLC and GP Wood Products LLC to acquire four sawmill operations located in Bay Springs, Miss., Fayette, Ala., DeQuincy, La., and Philomath, Ore. The total purchase price of USD 375 million, including working capital, will be funded entirely from cash on hand. - July 2021 - Graphic Packaging Holding Company launched OptiCycle, a line of non-polyethylene (PE) coated, single-use foodservice packaging, which is an alternative to classic PE and polylactic acid (PLA) coated products. The solution is to be commercialized in North America by a local supplier and designed to be easily recyclable by allowing the smooth separation of the liquid barrier layer from the paper.
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