According to a new study released by the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute, flexible packaging material suppliers are now starting to focus their attentions on the recyclability of their flexible packaging products, along with other environmental issues. They believe that these trends will continue to affect the industry as customer purchasing power increases.
A 2011 study found that 94% of Americans now have access to recycle plastic bottles. In addition, 40% of Americans are also able to recycle other types of plastic containers, such as yogurt cups, dairy tubes, and lids. As more customers become more aware of the environmental benefits of recycling, they have turned to corporations and are asking them to play their part. In response, the recyclability and re-usability of packaging is a dominate trend.
In addition to the report on industry trend, the study also examined how the packaging industry is growing across the globe. While the Middle East and Africa are set to grow by 5.3%, North America is only expected to grow 0.5%. Currently, the U.S. plastics industry employs approximately one million workers and contributes $375 billion to the global economy. If the current growth rate continues, the flexible packaging market in the U.S. is estimated to grow from the $74 million in 2012 to nearly $100 million by 2018.
With the growth of the flexible packaging industry, more companies are making investments into newer manufacturing equipment. According to the 2015 Flexible Packaging Market Assessment Report, over two-thirds of end users plan to purchase new equipment, or modify their existing equipment to handle new flexible packaging products. In addition, a third of the respondents said they expected to increase the use of flexible packaging, while decreasing their use of rigid materials. However, a majority of 61% say that their current ratio of flexible-to-rigid materials will stay the same.