Report: plastic’s utility for bottling and packaging

20 October 2020

A new report released by the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) explains why plastics, notably Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), and Poly Propylene (PP), have become the leading material for bottling and packaging of products around the world.

While bottling is often associated with water and carbonated drinks, plastic bottles are used by brands that manufacture medicine, personal care and cleaning supplies, food and beverages. Competition among packaging materials, including paper, steel, aluminum and glass, has been – and will continue – to be intense, as innovations are adopted, and brands look for the best packaging material to protect and market their products.

“When nearly 40% of food products in the U.S. are not consumed, it is evident why plastics packaging is so essential to the food chain that delivers products from the farm to kitchen tables,” said PLASTICS president and CEO Tony Radoszewski. “Spoiled foods represent wasted water, land and fuel; and they are the single largest material sent to landfills and emit methane gas.”

Estimates vary on the market size for plastic bottles. In 2019, the trade volume in plastic bottles totaled $18.5 billion based on data from the International Trade Center (ITC) – a joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations.

“The bottling landscape is expected to remain competitive as manufacturers innovate, redesign packaging, evaluate packaging materials and costs to stay competitive, and introduce or develop new products in response to changing consumer tastes and preference or adapt to industry trends,” noted PLASTICS Chief Economist Perc Pineda, PhD. “Thinking back, the choices of fruit juices and drinks were somewhat limited decades ago. Over time, due to demographic changes, different variations of fruit juices including drinks from exotic fruits can now be found in most U.S. grocery stores.”

Plastic’s unique qualities make it ideal for a wide range of bottling applications; it is low-cost, flexible or rigid with multiple design options, shatterproof, clear or colored, offers an array of closures, is safe for food and medical applications, recyclable, and has a lower carbon footprint in manufacturing and transportation. PLASTICS supports a number of sustainability programs like the New End Market Opportunities (NEMO) projects which contribute to lowering our carbon footprint.

For more information about the PLASTICS Market Watch Reports please visit: www.plasticsindustry.org/data/plastics-market-watch

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