- Reston, VA-based Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) has released two reports that identify recycling as a trend impacting the packaging market worldwide. Other trends impacting the industry include a growing awareness of health and increasing consumer purchasing power.
- The Institute reports that the flexible packaging industry is expected to reach $32.7 billion in value this year.
- PMMI's 2015 Flexible Packaging Market Assessment Report interviewed end users, two-thirds of whom plan to purchase new equipment, buy used equipment, or modify existing equipment to handle flexible packaging.
Recycling and environmental consciousness are both driving consumers' purchasing choices, which are also driving the packaging market, according to Jorge Izquierdo, vice president of market development at PMMI. "Recyclability and reusability of packaging are dominant trends and we’re predicting that will continue to be seen as PET and glass bottle usage increases."
Flexible packaging, however, is an issue at materials recovery facilities, which indicates why two-thirds of end users hope to modify equipment to better handle the packaging.
"Yes it's an issue and yes it's recyclable," NWRA Director of Waste & Recycling Technology Anne Germain told Waste Dive. "Flexible packaging is highly recyclable, however it's not recyclable in the curbside." Germain explained that while flexible packaging gums up the machinery in the MRF, the packaging can be recycled through many grocery store collection bin programs. The programs then take the packaging to a facility that is equipped to recycle it.
In September, the Materials Recovery for the Future announced new research aimed at improving sorting methods to recover more flexible packaging for recycling. Diane Herndon, manager of sustainability at Nestlé Purina PetCare Co., said in a press release, "We believe that data from this collaborative research will help us learn how to recover and divert more valuable resins from landfills."