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According to Packaging (Plastics), a new Market Report from market intelligence providers Key Note, the UK plastic packaging market was worth £3.7bn in 2011, an increase of 11% on 2009. Currently, plastic packaging is the fastest growing market in the packaging industry, taking some of the market share from other packaging industries, such as the paper and board, glass and metal sectors.
Inevitably, it is environmental issues that now dominate the UK market for packaging. Among the main packaging materials, plastic is considered relatively environmentally friendly, particularly in comparison to glass. This is largely due to the extended shelf-life plastics provide in the fast moving consumer goods industry. For food, bakery products, fresh produce and carbonated soft drinks, plastics is the ideal packaging material, providing a huge extension to the products' lifespan, thereby reducing the huge quantities of food waste that find their way into landfill each year, whilst also providing convenient and aesthetically superior packaging.
Environmental concerns have also had negative implications for the plastic packaging market. There are both EU directives and UK legislation that require the whole of the packaging industry to recover, recycle and reuse the continually increasing amounts of material. There are also fears concerning the amount of single-use carrier bags in use in the UK, with many of these ending up in landfill site or littering the landscape. In Wales and Northern Ireland, there is now a levy for single-use bags, which could soon be extended, should the rest of the UK's plastic bag consumption levels rise.
Due to the high price of raw materials and rising energy prices, Key Note expects the UK plastic packaging market to experience subdued growth in the next few years, with no significant growth forecast until 2013. However, over the 5 years from 2012 to 2016, Key Note estimates that the market for plastic packaging will increase by 21.2% to an estimated £4.75bn in 2016.
Press enquiries: Jack Sykes at Key Note at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0845 504 0452. Press/review copies of the report are available on request.