Green packaging projected to grow

U.S. demand for green packaging-composed of recycled content, reusable, and degradable packaging-is projected to increase 3.9% yearly to $14.7 billion in 2014, consuming 58 billion lb of material, according to a new report, "Green Packaging," from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland, OH-based industry market research firm.

Growth of green packaging is expected to outpace overall packaging demand, but will remain relatively moderate due to the maturity of many products and the large existing presence of recycled content packaging in paperboard and metal packaging. The fastest gains, reports Freedonia, are anticipated for degradable packaging and plastic-recycled-content packaging.

Forecast to expand 13.6% annually to $685 million in 2014, degradable packaging shows the biggest gains. This will be driven by price competitiveness with conventional resins, capacity expansions, and rising demand for environmentally friendly manufactured goods. 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, said Freedonia.

Recycled content packaging continues to constitute the vast majority of green packaging and demand is forecast to increase 3.6% annually to $37.3 billion in 2014. 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, will help these gains.

Reusable packaging demand is expected to post above-average growth through 2014, improving from the 2004-2009 pace due to 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, pans, and shipping sacks.-Clare Goldsberry

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