Sustainability in the packaging industry

Sustainability is one of the biggest challenges and one of the biggest opportunities for the packaging industry. Packaging has become an important commodity as all industries actively work to reduce their environmental impact. Driven also by consumer demand, sustainability in the packaging industry means using fewer raw materials, resulting in less waste, and encouraging full recycling. Higher energy costs and raw material prices are impacting the current sustainability target projections of key market players in these industries.

Key issues for the packaging industry

Recyclability of materials

  • The biggest problem with packaging is that it turns into waste once the consumer stops using a product. With a constant focus on the circular economy and in order to combat rising raw material prices, especially for aluminium, companies are interested in using packaging materials that can be easily recycled.
  • One of the market leaders, Henkel, aims to have 100 percent of its packaging destined for recycling or reuse. The company is also aiming for 100 percent of the paper and cardboard used for packaging to be made from recycled material or, where virgin fibre is required, to source virgin fibre from sustainable forestry by 2025.

Single-use plastic

  • More than 80 percent of marine litter is made up of plastics. With the aim of reducing the use of single-use plastics in the packaging industry, governments are banning them. In EU member states, for example, the use of single-use plastics has been banned since July 2021.
Innovations and future trends in the packaging industry

Innovation potential within the packaging industry

Minimalism in packaging

Monomaterial packaging

Reusable/refillable packaging

Compostable or biodegradable packaging

Future trends for the packaging industry

Manasi Ghayal, Market Intelligence Junior Expert