Bag bans, bottle backlash, wrap rage...in terms of public perception, 2011 was a year many players in the plastics packaging realm would rather forget. But as the new year begins the old year's battles are far from finished, with plastics fighting to hold on to packaging ground it long ago won from glass, aluminum, and paper. Plastic in many applications will no longer be able to stand on its own; only by emphasizing lightweighting, renewable content, recycled content, or spoilage impact, will plastics be able to continue to grow market share in packaging.
1. Lightweighting in primary packaging has run its course: Anyone who's handled a bottled water lately knows that brandowner and packaging suppliers' work to lighten their products has reached a tipping point. Any less material in today's water bottle, for instance, and the transformation from rigid to flexible package is complete. As a result, look for brandowners and retailers, at the vocal behest of their customers, to start targeting wasteful or unnecessary secondary and tertiary packaging, reexamining goods from the case, carton and pallet level, all of which could mean continued changes for the primary packaging component....