Global Sustainable Films for Packaging Market 2021
The global sustainable films market for packaging was valued at $140.0 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $276.2 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 7.0% during the forecast period 2022-2031. The market is being driven by factors such as the increasing focus on the circular economy, the growing awareness of environmental benefits among end users and consumers, and supportive government initiatives. However, there are challenges such as the lack of recycling technology and the high cost of raw materials that could limit market growth.
The growth in the sustainable films market for packaging is fueled by the rising demand for recyclable, reusable, and post-consumer recycled or bio-based materials in packaging films. Stakeholders in the packaging industry are shifting away from single-use plastic and multilayer packaging to facilitate easier recycling and promote the adoption of sustainable packaging across various industries. The food and beverage industry, being the largest consumer of single-use plastic packaging and a major producer of plastic waste, plays a crucial role in driving sustainability efforts. Many governments and companies have set goals to achieve sustainability by incorporating recyclable or reusable products into their offerings. For example, Amcor aims to make all its products sustainable by the end of 2025.
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USD 140 billion in 2020
Application, Material Type, Region
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The global sustainable films market for packaging is currently in a growth phase, and emerging trends like the development of bioplastics present further growth opportunities. The shift towards eco-friendly practices driven by the circular economy has led to increased demand for sustainable products, particularly in the food and beverage industry in regions such as Europe and North America.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the global sustainable films market for packaging, both positively and negatively. Sectors involved in essential goods supply, such as food and consumer supplies, experienced disruptions during the pandemic.
Demand drivers for the global sustainable films market for packaging include government and industrial initiatives to reduce plastic waste and the increasing demand for mono-material plastic packaging. However, the market may face limitations due to challenges such as the lack of technological advancements in recycling and the high cost and inadequate production of bio-based raw materials.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including application, material type, and region.
Segmentation by Application
Food and Beverage
Segmentation by Material Type
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
Others (PLA and Cellulose)
Segmentation by Region
North America – U.S., Canada, and Mexico
South America – Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Rest-of-South America
Europe – Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Rest-of-Europe
Asia-Pacific and Japan – Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, and Rest-of-Asia-Pacific and Japan
Middle East and Africa – U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Egypt, and Rest-of-Middle East and Africa
The food and beverage segment is expected to be the largest application for sustainable films used in packaging during the forecast period 2022-2031. The increasing demand for packaged food and beverages from various countries has driven industry stakeholders to seek more sustainable options while maintaining product quality. Sustainability has become a central focus in the food and beverage industry due to the significant carbon footprint associated with packaging processes. The United Nations reports that plastic waste has surged from 2 million tons in 1950 to over 460 million tons in 2021, with expectations of doubling by 2040. Reducing the production of single-use plastics, which experts consider to be highly detrimental and a major contributor to global plastic waste accumulation, particularly in oceans, is crucial. By 2025, companies such as Nestlé and PepsiCo may announce plans to replace all their packaging with recyclable, reusable, or compostable alternatives.
Among different materials, the polyethylene segment dominated the market in 2021 and is projected to maintain its leading position throughout the forecast period 2022-2031. Polyethylene is widely used in packaging film production, with variations such as low-density polyethylene (LDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). Each form serves different packaging purposes and can be easily recycled when a proper waste management system is in place. Polyethylene (PE) is a lightweight, resilient thermoplastic derived from ethylene polymerization. It finds application in various products such as frozen food bags, bottles, cereal liners, and yogurt containers. Recyclable polyethylene (PE) packaging offers numerous advantages, including ease of transportation, favorable product-to-package weight ratio, reduced carbon footprint, and various barrier options.
Europe emerged as the leader in the sustainable films for packaging market in 2021 and is expected to maintain its dominance during the forecast period. This is attributed to numerous government initiatives that compel packaging industry stakeholders to adopt sustainable packaging practices. Europe is recognized as a major producer and technological innovator in the field of sustainable packaging films. Enhancing sustainability in the plastics industry can foster innovation, competitiveness, and job creation, aligning with the goals of the updated EU industrial policy strategy. The European packaging sector strongly supports the aim of making Europe more circular and resource-efficient, thus striving to increase the use of eco-friendly packaging solutions. Furthermore, certain European countries, including France, Germany, and Italy, are going beyond the rigorous recycling legislation mandated by the European Union by implementing Extended Producer Responsibilities (EPRs).
The selection of the profiled companies was based on inputs collected from primary experts, as well as an analysis of company coverage, product portfolio, and market penetration.
Key companies profiled in this report include Amcor plc, Rani Group, Innovia Films, Mondi, Berry Global Inc., UFlex Limited, TORAY ADVANCED FILM CO., LTD., Pregis LLC, Constantia Flexibles, Sealed Air, Transcontinental Inc., ProAmpac, DUNMORE, Bleher Folientechnik GmbH, ePac Holdings, LLC., Cosmo Films.
Recent Industry Developments
Sealed Air expanded its range of recyclable barrier display films in February 2022, with the aim of enhancing recyclability within European food supply chains. The company introduced two new variations of Cryovac Brand Eco BDF films, namely Eco BDF20M and Eco rBDF20M, both of which are compatible with mechanical recycling and chemical recycling processes and are made from low-density polyethylene (LDPE).
In April 2022, ProAmpac launched its latest product called ProActive Recyclable R-2000S, which is composed of recyclable polyethylene material.
Amcor plc introduced AmPrima PE Plus ultra-clear and heat-resistant films in June 2021. These films are designed to be easily recycled and effectively reduce carbon footprints. AmPrima PE Plus utilizes raw materials that are readily applicable to recycling processes and manufacturing.
In November 2021, Rani Plast made substantial additional investments to enhance production capacity for recycled packaging film. The implementation of new production lines aims to minimize waste, improve the quality of packaging film, and enable the utilization of alternative raw materials like recycled plastic granules.
Key Questions Answered
What are the primary factors and trends influencing the sustainable films for packaging market?
How has the global consumption/production of sustainable films for packaging been affected by COVID-19?
Which end-use applications are leading the rapid adoption of sustainable films for packaging?
What are the recent advancements in different countries regarding the development of sustainable films for packaging? Additionally, what are some emerging types of sustainable films globally?
What are the governmental regulations/initiatives that have contributed to the increased adoption of sustainable films for packaging on a global scale?