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Europe Plastic Bottles and Containers Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

Europe Plastic Bottles and Containers Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

  • September 2021
  • 132 pages
  • ID: 6155632
  • Format: PDF
  • Mordor Intelligence LLP


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The Europe Plastic Bottles and Containers Market was valued at USD 27.95 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 37.08 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 3.4% over the forecast period from 2021 to 2026. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the market, multiple countries are anticipated to be shifting towards the usage of single-use plastics. Supply chains are being strained in order to meet a surge in demand for single-use plastic packaging and medical supplies. Such a significant spike in plastic demand is likely to lead toward a temporary change in the short-term initiatives and goals of transitioning toward a circular economy. Apart from this, it is also likely to put pressure on the plastic manufacturing chain.

Plastic containers are also becoming famous in the beverage segment and the food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries. Newer filling technologies and the development of heat-resistant PET bottles have opened up new possibilities and options in the market. While the PET bottles are standard in multiple segments, owing to which beverages, sanitary products, cosmetics, and detergents are predominantly sold in bottles that are made up of polyethylene (PE). The EU is pioneering the plastic area with its drive toward circular economy principles. The EU is mainly focused on plastic waste, as the high-volume, single-use item plastic packaging has come under scrutiny.
In October 2020, Britvic announced its intent for all plastic bottles in Great Britain (GB) to be made from 100% recycled plastic (rPET) by the end of 2022, three years earlier than initially planned and ahead of the previous target of 50%. This would cover the entire GB portfolio of Britvic-owned and PepsiCo brands and demonstrate both companies’ commitment to sustainability and a healthier planet. This is the latest in the series of sustainable business measures, including its recent move in Ireland to rPET for Ballygowan 500 ml bottles & Fruit Shoot Hydro switching to 100% rPET in September 2020.
Soft drinks hold a considerable share of the market studied, due to the popularity of such beverages. Soft drinks offer a wide variety of flavors and formats, with something to suit the drinking occasion. According to Unesda ( European association), low-calorie, sugar-free beverages currently account for up to 30% of sales in many European markets. Also, the reduction of the material weight is considered as an essential goal of the industry, which may result in ecological effects in transportation. Regarding this, plastics have a definite advantage over glass. Plastic bottles are also improving in areas, such as protection against UV radiation and gas barrier properties. These factors are leading toward plastic products, increasing their share in the packaging market.
Moreover, in 2020, the UK waste management company Biffa opened its new EUR 27.5 million PET recycling facility in County Durham, United Kingdom. This new plant, located in Seaham, can convert up to 57,000 metric ton of PET per year and will employ 100 full-time jobs to the region. The company also announced a new EUR 7 million facility in Washington, United Kingdom, which would be capable of recycling 20,000 metric ton of plastic pots and trays. Such trends are expected to support positive growth in the adoption of plastic bottles in the beverage industry in the country.

Key Market Trends

PET is Expected to Hold Significant Share

Adoption of PET can lead to up to 90% weight reduction compared to glass, allowing a more economical transportation process. Currently, plastic bottles made from PET are widely replacing heavy and fragile glass bottles, as they offer reusable packaging for mineral water and other beverages.
The reduction of material in the blow-molded PET containers is driven by cost reduction (material and transportation) and the increasing consumer demand for sustainable packaging. In Europe, there is a significant latent potential for the barrier of PET bottles in wine, beer, and specialty alcoholic beverages where the penetration of plastic bottles is shallow. Moreover, the European Federation of Bottled Waters, which represents around 600 natural mineral and spring water producers, set the target to use an average of at least 25% rPET in plastic bottles and collect 90% of all the PET bottles by 2025. Moreover, Coca-Cola’s European partners have pledged to receive 100% of the packaging and use 50% of the recycled plastic in plastic PET bottles in Western Europe by 2025.
The reduction of material in the blow-moulded PET containers is being driven by the cost reduction (material and transportation) and by increasing consumer demand for sustainable packaging. In the European region, there is a significant latent potential for the barrier PET bottles in wine, beer, and specialty alcoholic beverages where the penetration of the plastic bottles is low.
The PET recycling companies are also expanding their reach in Europe by establishing new facilities in the region. For instance, in 2020, Biffa, a massive waste management provider, based in the United Kingdom, created a further 27.5 million pound state-of-the-art (SOA) polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle recycling plant in Seaham, England. The new facility is capable of converting 57,000 metric tons of PET plastics annually, equivalent to 1.3 billion plastic bottles. The manufacturers are also investing in the development of lightweight PET bottles.

Cosmetics is Expected to Witness Significant Growth

Plastic is one of the most used and preferred materials for cosmetics packaging. Numerous cosmetic products in the market come in plastic bottles and containers due to the easy molding, structuring, and designing capability of the material as well as the protection. In the cosmetics industry, plastic bottles and containers are preferred forms of secondary packaging and held an unchallenged prominent share in the market half a decade ago.
Cosmetics packaging uses a variety of plastic cosmetic bottles and containers to suit diverse packaging needs. The demand for packaging for skincare products is on the rise. In Western Europe, disposable incomes and the growing popularity of skincare products from natural and organic ingredients are likely to drive the region’s growth. Socio-demographic changes in the region are affecting the demand for natural ingredients for cosmetics and related products. The region’s aging population increases the need for natural ingredients with active properties, such as anti-aging. Besides, various plastic bottle packaging providers are innovating with their offerings and materials used in their products. For instance, Berry Global Inc introduced a 100% recyclable BioPET bottle designed for beauty products.
P&G’s Head & Shoulders is launching eco-friendly shampoo bottles in collaboration with Tesco. These bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic and include beach plastic. Such initiatives are expected to further increase over the forecast period, where vendors of cosmetics and personal care products are expected to emphasize on offering their products in recycled plastic bottles.?
In 2020, German multinational Beiersdorf, specializing in skincare products, developed cosmetic bottles made of 100% recycled polyethylene (PE) for its Nivea brand. This launch is a part of the company’s Recyclist project and the result of a collaboration between the Fraunhofer IVV, Fraunhofer IWKS, and Pla.to. Fraunhofer IVV developed the "comprehensive recycling concept" for Beiersdorf intending to reuse high-quality PE recyclates to produce packaging cosmetic products. Every year, the company uses more than 750 million PE bottles as packaging material for its skincare products, which corresponds to the material usage of approximately 16,000 metric tons. Until now, cosmetic bottles made of PE generally end up as low-quality recyclates (downcycling) or used as the substitute fuel.

Competitive Landscape

The Europe plastic bottles and containers market is quite fragmented. Some of the significant players are Alpla Group, Amcor plc, Gerresheimer AG, Graham Packaging Company and Plastipak Holdings, Inc, etc. among others. The companies in the market are increasing their market share by launching new products and also by forming multiple partnerships and mergers. Some of the recent developments are:

Dec 2020 - Amcor, in partnership with other companies in the consumer goods industry announced measures to reduce plastic waste. Amcor and its partners will be enforcing two new design rules to deliver packaging that is easier and cost-effective to recycle. The first rule is expected to improve the economic viability of PET bottle recycling by removing colouring pigments and labeling that impact the recycling rates. The second rule will remove materials that are problematic for recyclers from all forms of plastic packaging.
July 2021 - The ALPLA Group, one of the global makers of plastic packaging and recycling specialists, has acquired Verigreen Packaging, a Durban-based company. The company specializes in lubricant bottles and canisters, such as motor oils. Verigreen offers Alpha an inroad into a market segment in which they have not been present in southern Africa until now and generates synergies for its existing customers and give opportunities to diversify its portfolio further.

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