Ceresana Issues Study of European Bags/Sacks

CONSTANCE, GERMANY | Ceresana, an industry market research and consulting company, has published its second analysis of the European market for bags and sacks. In the case of the environmental issue of lightweight plastic carrier bags, the first consequences of the corresponding EU directive can be observed: Most states of the European Union have regulations to reduce the consumption of plastic bags. Carrier bags made of paper are frequently exempt from these regulations; their manufacturers could become the ones who benefit from the EU directive.

The report predicts the European market for bags and sacks made of polyethylene films, other plastic films, woven plastics, and paper to reach a volume of approx. 8.77 million tonnes in 2024. Polyethylene is by far the most frequently used material. The implementation of the EU directive for the reduction of lightweight plastic carrier bags consumption has not been tackled equally in all countries. Therefore, the EU commission is addressing Greece, Italy, Poland, and Cyprus once again to try to advance implementation.

More and more countries, ban certain types of carrier bags already, or, with the aid of special taxes and fees, try to regulate the demand for several products. Usually, lightweight plastic carrier bags made of polyethylene are targeted by these initiatives. Carrier bags made of bioplastics are often exempt from these bans and fees. These are plastics that are either made of renewable resources (e.g., corn starch) or at least are biodegradable.

Importance and public reception of bioplastics have been increasing considerably in the past years, says the report. In spring 2017, the EU commission once again commented positively on the use of bioplastics in the segment packaging or carrier bags. According to the study, even if the market has developed very dynamically in the past years, bioplastics alone are not the ultimate and ecologically perfect solution propagated for a long time. For example, composting of bioplastics does still not work flawlessly in the commonly used facilities.

The study says heavy-duty and industry sacks have gained importance during the past years, but conventional heavy-duty sacks made from plastic films are faced with increasing competition from Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBC) in the segment bulk material. These FIBC are made from a stable plastic, often polypropylene, and can reach a capacity of up to 1,500 liters. Dynamics of the market for heavy duty sacks depends to a large extent on the economic development of the country as well as on the construction industry.

Pouch packaging has become more popular in the retail sector. Mainly metal cans and glass jars are replaced, but sometimes rigid plastic packaging as well. One advantage of flexible plastic pouches is that they can adapt to the size of the packaged good, which helps to optimize the packaging size, says the report. Furthermore, this packaging can be produced in a microwaveable way. It is also possible to print on them with increasingly ease.

The study covers production demand as well as import and export of Europe as a whole and of 23 individual countries; demand detailed by application and material, and includes profiles of the largest manufacturers of bags and sacks arranged according to contact details, turnover, profit, product range, production sites, profile summary, products, and applications.

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