Smithers study identifies top 20 opportunities for paper to replace plastics in packaging

The packaging market has always been at the intersection of developments in materials, technology, legislation and consumer tastes, and it has gone through a number of incarnations and major shifts in its material base.

The objective to make packaging more sustainable has been undertaken by industry leaders, brand owners and retailers to make a significant proportion of packaging either recyclable, reusable or compostable and to increase the use of recycled content. Based on an exclusive industry survey, Smithers latest market report – ‘The Future of Paper vs Plastic Packaging to 2024’ – examines the top 20 transition segments within the paper and plastic packaging markets.

With shifts in end-use demands increasing at a fast rate across the five years to 2024, ‘The Future of Paper vs Plastic Packaging to 2024’ assesses the following potential inhibitors of material transition away from its current solution of paper and plastic packaging

Performance and specification – High levels of technical specification and functionality that alternative materials/technology cannot replace.

Cost/Space – High unit cost of alternative materials/technology. In addition, alternative materials may have requirements for more space.

Ease of transition – Significant investment is required to commercialise certain new material/technology.

Available market supply – Limited availability of alternative materials, and limited development of infrastructure and capacities.

Sustainability – Total value chain analysis concludes existing material/technology is more sustainable than alternatives.

Brand demands – Branding and marketing decision makers do not accept alternative technologies.

Alternative product solutions – Complete redesigns of products to eliminate the need for packaging or to significantly change the packaging required.

Alternative retailing and consumer practices – Reusable containers and bottles gain popularity, and consumers take own containers when shopping.

Smithers latest report, ‘The Future of Paper vs Plastic Packaging to 2024’ examines potential transitions to/from paper packaging and to/from plastic packaging from 2019 to 2024. The report details those packaging segments where paper or plastic is the current material of choice but where transitions to the alternative material are expected to take place. A packaging segment is defined as the combination of material, technology and application.