More Paper, Less Plastic: New Ceresana Study on The European Market for Bags, Sacks, and Pouches

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The circular economy and bio-economy are reaching everyday life: European Union regulations determine how heads of lettuce are wrapped and what packaging ends up in household garbage cans. Laws initiated by the EU’s “Green Deal” are starting to take effect: Ceresana’s latest market study shows that plastic carrier bags are increasingly being replaced by paper bags. At the same time, demand for garbage bags is rising because fewer and fewer carrier bags are finding a secondary use as garbage bags.

Wanted: Environmentally friendly bags

One of the European Union’s declared goals is to promote bioplastics to help reduce the demand for fossil raw materials and greenhouse gas emissions. The EU has announced new regulations on bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics, such as mandatory labeling, before the end of 2022. This should put an end to the “widespread confusion among consumers” and ensure that bioplastics lead to “genuine environmental benefits”. So far, plastic packaging made from renewable raw materials, such as corn starch or whey, is not necessarily compostable – whereas there are fossil-based plastic products that are biodegradable. Most European countries agree that single-use bags, which are mainly made of polyethylene, should disappear: Plastic carrier bags, such as the thin plastic shirt bags for fresh fruit and vegetables, are increasingly being subject to mandatory fees or banned altogether.

Winners and Losers Amid the Crisis

First the Corona pandemic, then political conflicts: the upswing in heavy-duty and industrial bags that has been observed for several years has come to a halt for the time being. The crises also hit their competition: the “Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers” (FIBC), i.e., the flexible bulk containers made of stable plastic fabric, mostly polypropylene. The heavy-duty market is particularly dependent on the construction industry and demand for building materials. In this regard, Ceresana analysts expect that the 2019 level will not be reached again until 2025. The pouch packaging segment for food is expected to recover somewhat earlier. During the pandemic years 2020 and 2021, their demand had even increased, especially due to closed catering. However, this effect is now fading again: rapidly rising energy prices and inflation are now pressing issues – and many households have to save money.

Current market analysis on bags, sacks and pouches

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the European market for bags, sacks and pouches, including forecasts up to 2031. Data regarding production and demand volumes as well as on the individual material types and application areas are presented in tables and figures.
Chapter 2 analyzes the production, demand, import and export of bags, sacks and pouches for 28 individual countries, in each case broken down separately for the various manufacturing materials. The production of bags is detailed by materials for the eight most important national markets in Europe: Polyethylene (LDPE, LLDPE and HDPE), other plastics, woven plastics, paper. The demand is analyzed for the different applications: bags and pouches for all kinds of food, carrier bags, heavy duty bags, industrial bags, garbage bags and trash bags.
Chapter 3 provides useful company profiles of the most important producers of bags, sacks and pouches in Europe, clearly arranged according to contact details, revenues, profits, product range, production sites, brief profile as well as product types and application areas. Detailed profiles are provided by 82 manufacturers.

About Ceresana
As one of the world’s leading market research institutes, Ceresana specializes in the chemicals, plastics, packaging and industrial goods sectors, with a focus on bioeconomy and automotive / mobility. Since 2002, companies have benefited from high-quality industry analyses and forecasts. Over 200 market studies provide more than 10,000 clients around the world with the knowledge base for sustainable success.