Light, practical, controversial: Ceresana analyzed the European market for bags and sacks
Products made from plastic are currently in the spotlight of the European public's attention. Especially the use of single-use bags has received a lot of criticism.
Bags optimize food packaging
Bag packaging is increasingly popular in retail trade. It replaces, for example, metal cans, glass containers, or rigid plastic packaging. One of the advantages of flexible plastic bags is their superior capability to adjust to the packaged good, thereby optimizing the size of the packaging. Additionally, this form of packaging can also be produced in a microwave-compatible form and is increasingly easy to print on.
Heavy duty sacks compete with containers
Heavy duty and industry sacks have gained importance in recent decades. In some segments, sacks made of plastic have replaced paper sacks entirely. Although paper sacks continue to play an important role in the segment of animal feed or building materials like cement, polyethylene sacks have the potential to gain further market shares in the future due to their positive properties. Yet, conventional heavy duty sacks made of plastic film are competing more and more with so called "flexible intermediate bulk containers" (FIBC), especially in the bulk goods segment. These FIBC consist of a sturdy plastic weave – most often made of polypropylene – and can achieve a capacity of up to 1500 liters. They are often used as transport packaging for construction materials.
Bioplastics as an ambivalent alternative
Plastic products, especially thin single-use bags made of polyethylene, are subject to special taxes, fees or restrictions in more and more countries. Bioplastics that are either made from renewable materials (e.g. corn starch) or are at least biodegradable are often an exception to these regulations. The significance of these bioplastics has considerably improved in recent years. In the spring of 2019, the EU commission most recently commented positively on the potential of bioplastics in the field of packaging and carrier bags. However, even if this market is developing very dynamically, bioplastics alone are not the ultimate and ecologically immaculate solution that has long been propagated. There are, for example, still issues with the composting of some types of bioplastic in standard facilities. If biodegradable plastic disintegrates in open nature, the dispersion of micro particles could even increase.