Circular plastic packaging solutions expand market adoption.

Sustainable Packaging Market 2023-2033

Recycled plastics and bioplastics for sustainable packaging applications. Analysis of mechanical recycling and chemical recycling for packaging. 10-year market forecasts and discussions of 30 sustainable packaging materials.

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Advancing the circular economy with sustainable packaging
Creating a circular economy is an essential sustainability target for governments, brands, suppliers, and the public. A key driver is the risks that plastic consumption, which is expected to double globally by 2050, poses to the environment; not only is plastic waste overflowing in landfills, but a significant portion is mismanaged and leaks into the environment.
Addressing plastic waste pollution requires solutions from every sector, but an especially important industry is the packaging sector, which utilizes about one-third of annual plastics production. Packaging, especially for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), utilizes significant amounts of single-use plastics that quickly end up in the municipal waste stream. Therefore, sustainable packaging is a critical component needed to advance circularity. IDTechEx's market report, Sustainable Packaging Market 2023-2033, explores the sustainable materials, leading players, and technology trends driving the field and presents a forecast for the sustainable packaging market segmented into 21 different materials.
Source: IDTechEx
Mechanically recycled plastics
Mechanical recycling of plastics will be critical to pushing sustainability in the packaging sector forward. Mechanical recycling is the main source of recycled plastics, especially polyethylene terephthalate (PET), currently used by FMCG companies in products like beverage bottles and detergent containers. Not only does mechanical recycling prevent the further extraction of petroleum for virgin fossil-based polymers, but it is also the best end-of-life option for plastics in terms of carbon footprint.
As such, there is major market activity across the supply chain - from materials suppliers and recycling companies to packaging manufacturers and multinationals - to increase the recycled content of plastic packaging. IDTechEx predicts mechanical recycling will be the dominant source of sustainable plastics for packaging from 2023 to 2033. But as the IDTechEx report outlines, there are significant economic and technical problems preventing mechanically recycled plastics' usage in sustainable plastic packaging, such as contamination, recycled material prices, downcycling, and more, which many players are looking to address.
Chemically recycled plastics
Conventional mechanical recycling methods are the primary choice for producing recycled plastic, but given inherent issues in these methods, mechanically recycled plastics can have worse material properties than their virgin equivalents. This creates the problem of downcycling, which keeps recycled plastics from being used again in packaging; however, this is where advanced recycling enters the picture. The allure of advanced recycling methods, like solvent extraction, pyrolysis, and depolymerization, is that they use thermochemical reactions to allow used plastic waste to be made into "new" virgin plastic, circumventing the issue of downcycling. There is also potential for processing mixed plastics, including polyolefins like polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), another issue facing mechanical recycling.
For these reasons, materials suppliers and FMCG companies are investing in chemically recycled plastics, many of which will end up in sustainable plastic packaging. However, chemical recycling is not a magic bullet and faces economic and environmental barriers to adoption, which are explored in this IDTechEx report. Still, by 2030, chemical recycling will grow to become an important contributor to the sustainable packaging market.
Bioplastics and biobased materials
Yet, even if all the plastic produced every year was 100% recycled, there would still be a need for virgin feedstock to meet growing consumption. Bioplastics - plastics which are synthesized from biobased feedstocks - can replace incumbent fossil-based plastics here. Given their biobased origin, these plastics are a lower carbon footprint and sustainable option to incumbent fossil-based plastics.
Many biobased polymers, including biobased PET and PE, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), nanocellulose, and many others, are being explored by major materials players and start-ups for application in packaging. Other biobased materials, like non-wood plant fibers and mycelium, are seeing increasing attention for circular packaging solutions as well. IDTechEx's analysis of 95 start-ups operating in sustainable packaging identified over twenty different biobased materials with over US$4 billion in investment. With such market interest, IDTechEx forecasts that bioplastics will be a consistent contributor to sustainable packaging and decarbonization efforts.
Market analysis and IDTechEx sustainable packaging market forecast
Included in this IDTechEx report is extensive market analysis on the sustainable packaging market, from a materials, technology, players, and trends point-of-view. Additionally, the report segments the market by nine fossil-based polymers, eight bioplastics, and three sources of sustainable plastics, looking at the drivers and constraints of each segment. These segments are extrapolated in the 10-year forecast to explore each segments' current usage, potential for growth, and key players.
Key aspects of this report:
  • 10-year market forecasts for sustainable plastics packaging, including PET, PE, PP, and bioplastics.
  • Pain points presented by incumbent packaging, especially challenges with multi-material layered packaging.
  • Discussion of market drivers (legislation, brands, NGOs, the public) and key challenges for sustainable packaging.
  • Overview of status, challenges, and innovations for mechanical and chemical recycling methods.
  • Developments in advanced materials, technologies, and recycling methods enabling sustainable packaging.
  • Assessment of partnerships and investments in sustainable packaging by key FMCG companies, packaging manufacturers, material suppliers, and start-ups.
  • Discussion of over thirty materials for sustainable packaging, including established synthetic polymers, emerging biobased polymers, and other emerging biobased materials.
  • Analysis of players and technology readiness level for different bioplastics and biobased materials.
  • Barriers to entry and proposed solutions for mechanically recycled plastics, chemically recycled plastics, and bioplastics in packaging.
  • Benchmarking of emerging sustainable packaging materials by performance and current status.
  • Discussion of alternative approaches to sustainability, including design for recyclability.
  • Identification of over 95 start-ups operating in sustainable packaging.
  • Recent sustainable packaging applications and players in six main areas: food packaging, food service, beverages, shipping and transport, home and pet care, personal care and cosmetics.
Report MetricsDetails
Historic Data2017 - 2022
Forecast Period2023 - 2033
Forecast UnitsMillions metric tonnes
Regions CoveredWorldwide
Segments CoveredMechanically recycled plastics (PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP, other), chemically recycled plastics (PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP, other), bioplastics (PHA, biobased PE, biobased PET, PEF, TPS, PLA, PBT, other bioplastics)
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Table of Contents
1.1.Packaging's role in increasing global plastics production
1.2.Market drivers for sustainable packaging
1.3.Sustainable packaging market segmentation
1.4.Opportunity for post-consumer recycled plastics in packaging
1.5.Opportunities for recycling in the polymer value chain
1.6.Complementary approaches for recycling
1.7.Drivers and restraints of mechanical recycling for packaging
1.8.Summary of chemical recycling approaches
1.9.Benchmarking of sustainable packaging plastics - virgin vs recycled petroleum plastics
1.10.Benchmarking of sustainable packaging plastics - fossil-derived plastics vs bioplastics
1.11.Notes on benchmarking of sustainable packaging plastics
1.12.Segmentation of sustainable packaging applications and players
1.13.Sustainable packaging start-up overview
1.14.Sustainable packaging market forecast
1.15.Recycled PET: the dominant sustainable plastic for packaging
1.16.Recycled HDPE and PP: growing in demand but facing key barriers for sustainable packaging
1.17.Recycled LDPE: little to no utilization in sustainable packaging
1.18.Evolution of mechanically and chemically recycled plastics for sustainable packaging
1.19.IDTechEx sustainable polymers portfolio
2.1.List of acronyms
2.2.The circular economy
2.3.Packaging's role in increasing global plastics production
2.4.Plastic packaging materials
2.5.What is sustainable packaging?
2.6.Factors affecting packaging sustainability
2.7.Sustainable packaging market segmentation
3.1.Market drivers
3.1.1.Market drivers: government regulation on plastic use
3.1.2.Market drivers: Product producers, brands & retailers
3.1.3.Market drivers: Product producers, brands & retailers (2)
3.1.4.Market drivers: NGOs
3.1.5.Market drivers: Public
3.2.Sustainable packaging start-ups landscape
3.2.1.Investment interest in sustainable plastics technologies and packaging
3.2.2.Sustainable packaging start-up overview
3.2.3.Sustainable packaging start-ups by country of origin
3.2.4.Sustainable packaging start-ups by material
3.2.5.Sustainable packaging start-ups with the most investment
3.2.6.Sustainable packaging start-ups - materials related
3.2.7.Sustainable packaging start-ups - other
3.3.Barriers facing sustainable packaging
3.3.1.Impact of oil price on the competitiveness of plastic alternatives
3.3.2.The Green Premium
3.3.3.Rising feedstock prices
3.3.4.Other factors impacting the uptake of sustainable packaging materials
4.1.Factors affecting packaging material selection
4.2.Plastics for packaging
4.3.Paper and paperboard for packaging
4.4.Metals for packaging
4.5.Glass for packaging
4.6.Applications of incumbent packaging materials
4.7.Multi-material layered packaging
4.8.Materials for multi-layered packaging
4.9.End-of life for multi-material layered packaging
4.10.Further issues affecting multi-material layered packaging
4.11.Recycling of multi-material layered packaging
4.12.More sustainable alternatives to multi-material layered packaging
5.1.Introduction to plastics recycling
5.1.1.The four types of recycling: Process definitions
5.1.2.Understanding end-of-life plastics
5.1.3.Why are plastic recycling rates so low?
5.1.4.Recycling collection methods and facilities
5.1.5.Single vs multiple stream recycling
5.1.6.Opportunities for recycling in the polymer value chain
5.1.7.Global production of post-consumer recycled plastics
5.1.8.Opportunity for post-consumer recycled plastics in packaging
5.2.Mechanical recycling of plastics for packaging
5.2.1.Prominence of mechanical recycling for plastics
5.2.2.Primary mechanical recycling
5.2.3.Secondary mechanical recycling: collection and sorting
5.2.4.Secondary mechanical recycling: decontamination
5.2.5.Secondary mechanical recycling: melt and extrusion
5.2.6.The problem of downcycling
5.2.7.Contributors to downcycling
5.2.8.Recycled polymers in the food packaging industry
5.2.9.Approaches to improve secondary mechanical recycling
5.2.10.Invisible barcodes to improve plastic recycling
5.2.11.NEXTLOOPP: recycled food-grade polypropylene
5.2.12.Berry Global: recycled food-grade polypropylene
5.2.13.Drivers and restraints of secondary mechanical recycling for packaging
5.2.14.Chemical companies offering mechanically-recycled plastics for packaging
5.2.15.Recycling companies offering mechanically-recycled plastics for packaging
5.2.16.Partnerships to advance mechanically-recycled plastic production
5.2.17.Commercial applications of mechanically-recycled plastics
5.3.Mechanical recycling for packaging: key plastics
5.3.1.Mechanically recycling key polymer types
5.3.2.Mechanical recycling PET for packaging
5.3.3.Mechanical recycling PE for packaging
5.3.4.Mechanical recycling PP for packaging
5.3.5.Mechanical recycling PS for packaging
5.4.Advanced recycling of plastics for packaging
5.4.1.Chemical recycling in the polymer value chain
5.4.2.Complementary approaches for recycling
5.4.3.Market drivers for chemical recycling
5.4.4.Summary of chemical recycling approaches
5.4.5.Dissolution: technology overview
5.4.6.Dissolution plant overview
5.4.7.Pyrolysis: technology overview
5.4.8.Pyrolysis of plastic waste - process diagram
5.4.9.Comparison of pyrolysis processes
5.4.10.Contamination in pyrolysis
5.4.11.Depolymerisation: technology overview
5.4.12.Depolymerisation of PET
5.4.13.Enzyme technology for chemical recycling
5.4.14.Gasification: technology overview
5.4.15.Scope for gasification processes in a circular economy
5.4.16.Closing the loop on chemical recycling
5.4.17.Environmental viability of chemical recycling
5.4.18.Alternative recycling routes for MSW
5.4.19.Partnerships for chemically recycling mixed plastics
5.4.20.Partnerships for chemically recycling PET and PS
5.4.21.Chemical recycling for packaging
5.5.Chemical recycling for packaging: key plastics
5.5.1.Technology status by polymer feedstock
5.5.2.Chemical recycling PET for packaging
5.5.3.Chemical recycling PE for packaging
5.5.4.Chemical recycling PP for packaging
5.5.5.Chemical recycling PS for packaging
5.6.Alternatives to petroleum-based plastics for packaging
5.6.1.Bioplastics for packaging: overview
5.6.2.Synthetic biobased polymers
5.6.3.Naturally occurring biobased polymers
5.6.4.Other biobased materials
5.7.Recycled paper for packaging
5.7.1.Recycled paper for sustainable packaging
5.7.2.Innovations for recycled paper packaging
6.1.What is Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS)?
6.2.CO₂ utilization for sustainable packaging
6.3.CO2-derived linear-chain polycarbonates
6.4.CO2-derived chemical precursors
6.5.Players in CO₂-derived chemicals by end-product
6.6.CO2-derived PHB for packaging: Newlight Technologies
6.7.CO2-derived PET and PE for packaging: LanzaTech
7.1.Design for recyclability
7.2.Reusable packaging & return programs
7.3.Reduction of packaging material use
7.4.Additives and coatings that improve sustainability
8.1.1.Segmentation of sustainable packaging applications
8.2.Sustainable food packaging
8.2.1.Players active in sustainable food packaging
8.2.2.Examples of commercial sustainable food packaging
8.3.Sustainable foodware and food service products
8.3.1.Players active in sustainable foodware and food service products
8.3.2.Examples of commercial sustainable foodware and food service products
8.4.Sustainable beverage packaging
8.4.1.Players active in sustainable beverage packaging
8.4.2.Examples of commercial sustainable beverage packaging
8.5.Sustainable packaging for shipping and transport
8.5.1.Players active in sustainable packaging for shipping and transport
8.5.2.Players active in sustainable packaging for shipping and transport: split by application
8.5.3.Examples of commercial sustainable packaging for shipping and transport applications
8.6.Sustainable packaging for home and pet care products
8.6.1.Players active in sustainable packaging for home and pet care products
8.6.2.Examples of commercial sustainable packaging for home and pet care products
8.7.Sustainable packaging for personal care and cosmetics
8.7.1.Players active in sustainable personal care and cosmetics packaging
8.7.2.Examples of commercial sustainable packaging for personal care and cosmetics
9.1.Forecast methodology and scope
9.2.Sustainable packaging market forecast
9.3.Sustainable packaging forecast segmented by material
9.4.Recycled PET: the dominant sustainable plastic for packaging
9.5.Recycled HDPE and PP: growing in demand but facing key barriers for sustainable packaging
9.6.Recycled LDPE: little to no utilization in sustainable packaging
9.7.Bioplastics for sustainable packaging market forecast
9.8.Sustainable packaging market forecast segmented by process
9.9.Evolution of mechanically and chemically recycled plastics for sustainable packaging
10.6.Danimer Scientific
10.10.Helian Polymers
10.14.Newlight Technologies
10.16.Origin Materials
10.17.Polyferm Canada
10.18.RWDC Industries
10.21.TotalEnergies Corbion PLA
10.22.Weidmann Fiber Technology
11.1.Sustainable packaging forecast
11.2.Sustainable packaging forecast - segmented by process
11.3.Bioplastics for sustainable packaging market forecast

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Report Statistics

Slides 240
Companies 23
Forecasts to 2033
ISBN 9781915514585

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