Canadian Packaging

Growing the green!

Demand for eco-friendly packaging products in the U.S. is expected to grow by 3.9 per cent a year through 2014, according to a new study from Cleveland, Ohio-based market researchers The Freedonia Group.


March 8, 2011
by Canadian Packaging Staff

Demand for eco-friendly packaging products in the U.S. is expected to grow by 3.9 per cent a year through 2014, according to a new study from Cleveland, Ohio-based market researchers The Freedonia Group.

But while such growth will outpace the overall packaging demand during the forecast period, the study calls for this growth to “remain fairly moderate, due to the maturity of many products and the large existence of recycled-content packaging in paperboard and metal packaging.

“The fastest gains are anticipated for degradable packaging and plastic recycled-content packaging,” states the Green Packaging report, which projects total U.S. demand for all so-called “green” packaging—comprised of recycled-content, reusable and degradable packaging—to reach US$41.7 billion in 2014, representing 58 billion pounds of packaging materials.

“Degradable packaging is forecast to expand by 13.6 percent annually to US$685 million in 2014, driven by price competitiveness with conventional resins, capacity expansions and rising demand for environmentally-friendly manufactured goods,” the report states.

“Advances will also be based on enhanced performance properties resulting from blending and other modifications, initiatives by brand owners to improve the environmental footprint of their packaging, and legislative bans on polystyrene foam foodservice disposables in some parts of the country.

“Preventing faster advances will be the maturity of some product types—including ring carriers, loose-fill, etc.—the lack of consumer composting networks in most areas of the U.S., and  competition from emerging green packaging materials such as non-biodegradable bioplastics,” according to The Freedonia Group.

Ongoing upgrades and investment in the U.S. recycling infrastructure is expected to stimulate 3.6-percent annual growth for recycled content packaging to over US$37.3 billion in 2014, the reports predicts. (See Table)

“Gains will be supported by increased collection activity and processing capacity, coupled with greater use of recycled content packaging by firms seeking to demonstrate environmental responsibility and differentiate their products,” the report says.

“Robust growth is anticipated for plastic recycled-content packaging based on more concerted collection efforts and expanded processing capacity, especially for food-contact approved resin grades.”

Meanwhile, demand for reusable packaging will post “above-average growth” for the forecast period, according to the study, citing “a rebound in manufacturing activity from a weak base in 2009.

“Demand for reusable plastic containers and intermediate bulk containers will benefit from an upswing in manufacturing activity and inroads into lower capacity packaging types such as drums, pails and shipping sacks.”

Full copies of the 400-page Green Packaging report may be obtained for US$5,100 each by contacting Corinne Gangloff of The Freedonia Group, Inc. at 1-440-684-9600; or via e-mail: pr@freedoniagroup.com.