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Retail, boom for recyclable packaging market at 28.3 billion (+7.2% per year)

Packaging is getting greener: from seaweed to corn plastic, cow manure and 3D printing, innovations in sustainable materials production are revolutionising the packaging sector, directly impacting purchasing habits with two thirds of consumers considering the recyclability of packaging at the time of purchase to be crucial

12, Oct 2022

Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important criterion in consumers’ purchasing decisions, especially when it comes to product packaging. A recent research report by The Business Research Company estimates that the global market for recyclable packaging will reach $28.3 billion in value this year with a growth rate of +7.2% compared to 2021 and will reach $34.2 billion in 2026. Green packaging thus emerges as a key trend in the market as it can be biodegradable, reusable, non-toxic and made from recycled materials.

The use of eco-friendly packaging is increasingly favoured precisely because it can reduce the carbon footprint and promotes a green lifestyle that helps save energy and prevent pollution. Suffice it to say that, as reported by, one in two American shoppers (47%) said they would be willing to pay extra for a product packaged in sustainable packaging and two-thirds (64%) indicated the recyclability of packaging as a key element in the product purchasing process, a percentage that rises to 69 per cent in the 18-29 age group. In Germany, on the other hand, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos, 77% of consumers would like to have as little packaging as possible and 63% would consider changing their purchasing habits if this criterion was not met.

A global trend that is also influencing the market in Italy where, according to the Immagino GS1 Observatory, in just one year the number of products that explicitly communicate on the label how to handle the packaging after consumption has grown by 5% (35.9% of the total in the large-scale retail trade). This is what emerges from a series of in-depth studies conducted on the main international trade publications by Espresso Communication for Vitavigor, an Italian company famous throughout the world for El Super Grissin de Milan.

Finally, here are the 10 most curious trends in green packaging reported by leading international publications:

1. Seaweed: Seaweed is a natural and sustainable ingredient for single-use packaging; edible and 100% biodegradable.

2. Water-soluble packaging: made of polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), they dissolve on contact with hot water, providing products with protection and sustainability.

3. 3D printing: thanks to this technology, the packaging can be printed completely or partially around the product with plastic, so that only the necessary material is used.

4. Cellulose-based materials: chromatogenics makes any cellulose-based product permanently hydrophobic, protecting the product without sacrificing sustainability.

5. Printed fibre: this method allows customisation with different materials, inks and lacquers, while remaining recyclable and waste-free.

6. Grass cardboard: alternative to plastic packaging is 100% recyclable and compostable, with chemical-free processing of raw materials.

7. Plantable packaging: fully biodegradable seed paper is created using recycled paper and wild seeds; when the packaging reaches the end of its life cycle, it can be planted to grow new life.

8. Cow manure: plastic-free packaging can be produced from cow manure.

9. Oyster paper: made from recycled waste products, oyster paper is obtained from waste residues from the leather production process.

10. Corn plastic: completely biodegradable, this material has been used to produce packaging materials such as food bags as an alternative to plastic.

Espresso Communication Srl

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