Recyclable Packaging Market to Top $41 Billion by 2031

pile of waste from food packaging

The food and beverage industry is the largest consumer of recyclable packaging, accounting for nearly 50% of the market. (Photo by Jas Min on Unsplash)

by | Jun 10, 2024

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Brands and manufacturers’ increased emphasis on green packaging to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers along with the burgeoning e-commerce sector is fostering the need for innovative recyclable packaging solutions to ensure the safe delivery of products.

The primary driver of the global recyclable packaging market according to a recent Coherent report is the escalating concern for sustainability among consumers and governments worldwide. Due to heightened awareness of the environmental hazards posed by plastic waste, consumers are increasingly opting for eco-friendly packaging solutions. In response, various governmental bodies enforce stringent plastic use regulations and promote recyclable materials. The European Union has banned specific single-use plastic items since July 2021 to curb plastic waste.

Demand for Paper & Biodegradeable Materials

The shift towards using paper as an alternative to plastic packaging is gaining momentum globally due to its eco-friendly attributes. Companies are increasingly adopting paper bags, cartons, and boxes for packaging. Amazon plans to reduce and replace single-use plastics in its packaging by 2024.

Manufacturers focus on developing sustainable packaging using bio-based and biodegradable materials such as bioplastics, paper, and sugar cane. In collaboration with Danone, Nestle is developing novel packaging solutions derived from renewable biological sources through its “Paper Bottle Project.”

The recycled papers segment currently holds the largest market share due to its extensive use across various industries. Biodegradable plastics, however, owing to their eco-friendly properties, are anticipated to experience the fastest growth.

Enhancing Supply Chain Resilience

Brand owners and retailers are encountering significant internal challenges within their supply chains, which can be mitigated through the use of recyclable packaging. Rising commodity and transportation costs, global sourcing and logistics complexities, capacity constraints, and disruptions are compelling companies to optimize their operations. Recyclable and reusable packaging eliminates unnecessary and wasteful materials from the supply chain without compromising protection and performance. This reduces raw material consumption, lowers packaging-to-product ratios, and enhances transport utilization. Additionally, flexible and lightweight designs offer further cost-saving opportunities.

An efficient closed-loop supply chain, where packaging is collected, sorted, and processed for reuse, improves material circulation. This extends the functional lifespan of packaging materials and retains their economic value within the system. By integrating sustainability goals into their core business strategies and redesigning packaging accordingly, companies can enhance supply chain resilience and prepare for future disruptions. The commercial incentives of reducing operational costs, mitigating supply risks, and achieving competitive differentiation help increase the adoption of recyclable solutions across industries.

Market Takeaways

The global recyclable packaging market, valued at $30.53 billion in 2024, is poised for substantial growth, projected to reach $41.27 billion by 2031. The report by Coherent Market Insights details this expansion at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.4% from 2024 to 2031.

The beverage segment dominates the market, driven by the high demand for recyclable bottles and cartons from leading brands. The food industry segment is also projected to grow significantly during the analysis period.

North America currently holds the largest market share, attributed to stringent regulations and advanced recycling infrastructure. Due to rising environmental consciousness, the Asia Pacific region is expected to expand fastest.

Key Players and Recent Developments

Prominent players in the global recyclable packaging market include Amcor, Tetra Laval, Sealed Air, Berry Global, Mondi, Sonoco Products, Smurfit Kappa, International Paper, and Reynolds Group Holdings. The industry frequently witnesses strategic acquisitions and collaborations to enhance product portfolios and geographical presence.

In July 2021, Tetra Pak and Stora Enso partnered to enhance Poland’s beverage carton recycling capacity. This collaboration will establish a significant carton repulping facility at Stora Enso’s Ostroleka manufacturing site in Poland, doubling the country’s ability to recycle beverage cartons annually from 25,000 to 75,000 tonnes.

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