Plastic tipped to be fastest growing segment of sustainable packaging industry

By Katie Nichol

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Alcan packaging beauty Recycling Packaging and labeling Packaging

The fastest-growing segment within the sustainable packaging sector over the next five years is anticipated to be plastic-based packaging, according to market intelligence firm, Pike Research.

Sales in the sustainable packaging market as a whole are forecasted to almost double between 2009 and 2014, growing from $88bn (€61bn) to $170bn (€118.6bn), according to the company.

“More eco-friendly plastic packaging will have a huge impact because it represents more than a third of the total global packaging industry, second only to paper packaging´ ​managing director Clint Wheelock said in a statement.

According to the report, the key to producing environmentally friendly packaging is to create a product that has the lowest possible environmental impact whilst still providing the necessary safety, convenience and marketing opportunities that modern consumers demand.

In order to embrace the basic concept of reduce, reuse and recycle, the industry needs to make significant changes to current practices, said Pike, suggesting that better design, materials innovation and a better understanding of the total costs associated with packaging are what is needed.

Cosmetics and personal care market is one sector where interest in sustainable packaging is growing, with a number of key developments over the past year.

Research and Development

Last year, Alcan Packaging Beauty initiated Project Thalia, a research and development project to help foster the design of environmentally-friendly plastic packaging which unites key players across the packaging industry.

“The idea was to gather main actors of the plastic​ industry working for different markets, that had the same needs in terms of new material and eco-design but not the same purpose and use for final products,”​ said Nicholas Thorne, Alcan​ Packaging Beauty’s Innovation and Development manager.

Recycling initiatives

Origins, Estee Lauder’s natural and organic brand, launched a recycling programme inviting consumers to return to the store any of its packaging, alongside the cosmetics packaging for any of its competitors.

According to the company, the initiative created a significant impact, with an increasingly environmentally conscious public responding well to the program.

Similarly, Johnson & Johnson brand Aveeno turned its attention to recycling through a partnership with Terracycle designed to give new life to empty Aveeno beauty product tubes by ‘upcycling’ them into eco-friendly household items to be sold in major retailers across the U.S.

Eco-friendly plastic packaging

Cosmetics companies are responding to consumer awareness of environmental issues by increasingly seeking eco-friendly plastic packaging materials. For its first range, Evolve beauty opted for biodegradable packaging from M&H plastics manufactured in Post Consumer Regrind (PCR) HDPE material, made from recycled milk bottles.

In addition, Italian manufacturer Bormiolo Rocco recently launched its Ecological range, a line of cosmetics bottles in recycled HDPE, 100 per cent recycled PET, PLA and green PE.

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