Paper packaging is a sustainable and versatile way to transport and protect goods. Paper is 100% recyclable, compostable and biodegradable. Paper and board are manufactured from the natural fibers of bleached and unbleached cellulose, or from recycled paper. It is a more environment friendly alternative to plastic based packaging. Additional advantages include lightweight material, strong and is customizable in packaging design, as packaging aesthetics play a major role in customer preference.
The major drivers of the paper packaging market are the environment friendly nature of paper, low cost compared to alternatives and scrutiny from governments, public, NGOs, and media regarding waste generation. Companies taking an environmental stand have observed a better public profile than their counterparts, and this directly translates into company health.
The major challenges are that paper cannot be used in packaging of very heavy materials. This industry is still dominated by polymers and metal packaging. Furthermore, deforestation due to logging and the release of dioxins during paper production are a cause for environmental concern.
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Paper Packaging Market Taxonomy
On basis of Product Type
Paper bags and Sacks
On basis of Grade
Solid Bleached Surface
Coated Recycled Board
Uncoated Recycled Board
On basis of End User
Cosmetics & Personal Care
Corrugated containers are primarily used as tertiary packing i.e. removed by retailers before sale. Corrugated containers are used to carry heavier goods such as electronics or multiple packages in the same container, due to strength from layered paper fiber structure. Cartons are lightweight material used for packaging of single items. Paper bags are made from single layer of paper and are used for light duty applications such as grocery packaging.
Solid bleached surface is bleached chemical board and has a mineral or synthetic coating on top for printing purposes. It is used in high-end packaging, pharmaceutical and food packaging, where aroma and flavor retention are essential. Coated recycled paperboard is produced from 100% recycled material and is coated with a kaolin layer for product description printing. Common applications are cereal boxes, soaps and detergents, paper goods packaging. Uncoated recycled paperboard is also produced from 100% recycled material and is used for shoeboxes, composite cans and fiber drums.
Largest end user industry is food industry. Moreover, with populations in developing countries getting richer, the demand for packaged goods rises which drives the packaging industry.
Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market with increase in demand for food, beverages, pharmaceuticals and personal healthcare products. Increased consumer awareness in these markets has resulted in shift to paper packaging. The demand for paper pulp is also increasing in these markets. Japan is the largest market in Asia of packaging but has seen slow growth due to increase in consumption tax.
North America is a market leader in paper packaging and recycles up to 70% of its used paper according to the US Forest and Paper Association. Almost 35% of the feed for new paper was from recycled paper. In Europe, the European Paper Recycling Council aims to achieve 74% recycling in the European Union with Scandinavian Countries particularly adept.
Latin America has seen investment in hardwood pulp which is used as a feedstock for paper. Brazil is a major market but environmental and labor regulations may restrict growth as the market matures. Moreover, the logging industry is the largest industrial employer in Latin America with Amazon forests as the source.
Middle East has one of the largest per capita income in the world, hence the population has large disposable incomes which has resulted in this region having high consumption rates which drives the packaging industry. Whereas, Africa is expected to be a growth market in the coming years.
Low cost and innovative solutions on a local and regional level has challenged established market leaders, creating a buyer’s market with low prices on offer. The key players in the market are Clearwater Paper Corporation, Amcor Ltd., ITC Ltd., Metsa Group, Cascades Inc., Rock-Tenn Company, Mondi Group, Packaging Corporation of America and DS Smith Plc.
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