Top 5 plastic packaging developments of 2017

Halftime breaks in sports and in business designate a time to review what's happened so far and use that information to make or adjust plans for the second half.

At the Packaging Channel at PlasticsToday, we used this opportunity to check metrics for the first half of 2017. It’s one way to check the pulse of the industry as to what packaging issues, news and developments at our website drew the most interest and presumably were the most important to our audience of plastics and packaging professionals.

Without further ado we present the Top 5 articles of 2017 (so far) in reverse order, starting with the #5 entry that covers one of the largest and fastest-growth segments in packaging, flexibles. Globally, the flexible packaging market is valued at $98 billion in 2016 and is projected to reach $132 billion by 2022 at a CAGR of 5.2% (Source: MarketsandMarkets). That’s tied to the fact that flexpacks bring the highest product-to-package-ratio to the packaging table, making this type of packaging highly efficient.

5. Sustainability of Flexible PackagingThat’s an often underappreciated aspect that's put squarely in the spotlight in this article, Flexible packaging is more sustainable than people realize. The fact that it was posted recently (late April) indicates the powerful lure of the article written by long-time PlasticsToday reporter Clare Goldsberry, who drew on input from a Dow Chemical (Midland, MI) expert. In short, four aspects were identified that are necessary for flexible packaging to gain a better reputation: Increase waste collection; embrace technology; educate and engage consumers; and create new opportunities for recycled flexible packaging. You can read the article here.


#4 New plastic alloy

4. Plastic AlloyWhile news and developments in biomaterials are advancing at a blurring pace, one article took a different approach in pointing to an entirely new material that combines the best properties of two tried-and-true polymers. The saying that two are better than one certainly holds true in research conducted at MIT whereby polypropylene and polyethylene are blended together along with a miniscule amount of a special ingredient—a tetrablock (four-block) polymer. According to the researcher, by “adding just one percent of our additive, and you get a plastic alloy that really has super-great properties."

You can read about it here.


#3 All that is plastics packaging

Market reports are another type of content that usually get a nice amount of attention and this one is remarkable as for the amount of views it has received this year even though it was posted a year ago.3. Global Plastics Packaging report

Packaging markets within the plastics market do not get any bigger than the global plastics packaging market, which according to the report is expected to reach $375 billion by 2020.

Rigid packaging was by far the most important product segment, which accounted for largest market share in 2014. Rigid packaging is believed to continue this trend due to the increasing demand from the pharmaceutical sector. Read all the facts here.


#2 EPS to be phased out at…

2. EPS to be phased out by McDsThere’s added pressure placed on plastics these days by special interest groups that target particular markets, brands or polymers. And there’s few bigger names in the food sector than McDonald’s, which operates in 36,000+ locations in 100+ countries. Reacting to special interest pressure from the group As You Sow, the fast-food icon recently made the decision to phase out expanded polystyrene packaging. Long-time PlasticsToday reporter Clare Goldsberry reacted to that reaction with this highly popular op-ed posting in which she notes, among other things, that “McDonald’s has caved to the group.” Read McDonald’s agrees to phase out EPS in its packaging and see if you agree.


#1 The most-read article of 2017 so far…

1. Flexible Pkg reportPlasticsToday’s most-read post from the first half of 2017 layers two high-interest elements, that of flexible packaging with the ever-popular market report. The article, Flexible Packaging Market projected to exceed $250 billion by 2024, compiles a number of highlights about market drivers and flexpack developments.

For example, in a section on technological advancements, several developments are identified including improved barrier properties, thinner materials, superior sealing and more.  Key formats within the segment are noted including stand-up pouches, which by 2024 is estimated to be valued at more than $75 billion.

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