Bharat Book Bureau

Paper versus Plastics in Packaging to 2014

Plastic packaging to make further inroads into paper
In 17 selected markets where plastic and paper compete as packaging materials, plastic is expected to increase its share of the market to 49 percent (in pounds) in 2014 as it makes further inroads into paper applications. The percentage understates plastic’s share since less plastic is required than paper in most applications due to its lighter weight. In addition, plastic has greater ability for lightweighting than does paper. Plastic has made the greatest gains in primary packaging but remains much less significant than paper and paperboard in secondary packaging and shipping containers. ( )

Plastic packaging growth to outpace paper packaging
Plastic packaging growth by volume is expected to outpace that of paper packaging through 2014 in nearly all competitive markets covered in this study and is forecast to expand 2.3 percent per year through 2014. Advances for plastic will be the result of its competitive cost and performance advantages, including light weight, moisture resistance, enhanced barrier properties and puncture resistance. Plastic has continued to expand its share in a number of markets despite the sharp spike in resin prices in recent years. More moderate resin pricing through 2014 and the development of new applications for biodegradable plastics should make plastic even more competitive against paper.

Though paper packaging will post more limited advances or continue to decline in the majority of markets through 2014, paper will log relatively favorable gains in a handful of markets and maintain a substantial lead over plastic. These markets include foodservice, protective packaging, and soy and other nondairy beverages. Opportunities in the foodservice and protective packaging markets will also reflect improved outlooks for consumer spending and manufacturing activity. Moreover, increased emphasis on packaging sustainability will enhance the competitiveness of paper in some applications based on environmental advantages including recyclability, renewability and biodegradability.

Rigid packaging to grow slightly faster than flexible
Rigid packaging demand in competitive markets will expand at a slightly faster pace than that of flexible packaging based on above-average growth for tubs and cups, trays and other plastic containers such as clamshells and two-piece high visibility plastic containers. Gains will also be helped by rebounds in demand for shipping drums and protective packaging following a depressed base in 2009. Based on the widespread use of products such as folding and gabletop cartons, ovenable trays and paper-based protective packaging, paper will maintain its lead over plastic in rigid packaging through 2014. However, plastic will continue to gain ground in competitive rigid packaging.

Flexible packaging gains will be aided by above-average growth for protective packaging and pouches. Improved manufacturing output and Internet sales will bode well for products such as air pillows and bubble packaging, which provide cost-effective options in the protection of goods from shock, vibration, abrasion and other damaging effects of shipping and handling. Pouches will make further inroads into rigid packaging and other types of flexible packaging based on attributes of cost effectiveness, enhanced barrier properties, space savings, lighter weight, aesthetic appeal and source reduction capabilities.

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Related Reports

The Global Biodegradable Plastic Packaging Market 2010-2020

The Paper Packaging Market 2010-2020


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