Can eco packaging overcome the hurdles in the European market?

Can eco packaging overcome the hurdles in the European market?
With the continuous rise of e-commerce and the great trend towards sustainability, the demand for eco packaging is greater than ever. Currently, also packaging products without clear sustainable alternative are undergoing changes. However, the European market offers not only opportunities but also challenges.

Eco packaging has been a trend for years. Wherever easily possible, plastic was replaced by paper and fresh fibers were replaced by recycled materials. The remaining ‘conventional’ materials are often crucial for the packaging performance. Plastic films are needed for water resistance. EPS (expanded polystyrene) insulation boxes assure stable temperatures. However, both consumers and governments are demanding sustainable alternatives. Hence, also those hard-to-reach areas are becoming more sustainable, too. One such product is packaging insulation. While previously EPS materials ruled the market, the demand for sustainable insulation liners is higher than ever.
Eco packaging innovation often comes from a raw material side. Recycled materials are one common option. However, also the market for recycling materials is limited. Hence, leading players in the paper industry are already developing alternative raw materials to balance the future lack of waste paper to produce fluting and containerboard for corrugated boxes.
Suppliers of innovative eco packaging can expect an advantage over conventional suppliers and very high growth rates. However, they often face a variety of hurdles in the European market.
One such hurdle are the different regulations in European countries. The European Union sets a certain baseline for the regulations such as extended producer responsibilities. For this reason, users of packaging need to pay fees which are less expensive for sustainable materials. While this is an important driver for sustainability, each country in the EU can decide for themselves how to implement those schemes. Suppliers face a tangle of different regulations in each country.
The market in Europe is structured similar to the regulatory environment. Each country has their own leading players as well as eco packaging providers. Looking at Europe in total, players in the value chain face a highly fragmented market, which is not easy to play in.
Schlegel und Partner is the expert to support players along the value chain to identify and overcome those and other hurdles in global markets.

Interested in further information?
Please do not hesitate to contact:
Carolin Rieckmann, phone +49 6201 9915 71,

Felix Richter, phone +49 6201 9915 45,

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