In an article published on August 12, 2020, consultancy Smithers announced the release of its new market report titled “The future of mono-material plastic packaging film to 2025.” The use of mono-material plastic packaging films is growing worldwide and this growth is driven by the “need for easier to recycle polymer formats . . . to cut pollution associated with plastic and embrace circular economy models.” Mono-material films are said to be “fully recyclable” in contrast to “conventional multi-layer composite films [which are] difficult to recycle because of the need to separate the different film layers.” The report predicts that “the demand for more sustainable solutions to meet brand owner and consumer expectations will see this market accelerate at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8% to reach $70.9 billion in 2025, with a total of 26.03 million tonnes consumed.”

Mono-material film packaging is most often made of polyethylene (PE), which accounts “for over half of forecast global consumption in 2020.” PE is predicted to “see strong growth through to 2025, but be outstripped by rising demand for PP [(polypropylene)] grades.” The use of regenerated cellulose fiber (RCF) is predicted to “rise only slowly over the forecast period,” while for polyvinylchloride (PVC) the demand “will decline as alternative solutions are adopted by converters.”

The largest sectors using mono-material packaging films in 2020 are the “fresh food and snack food & confectionery.” Both are predicted to grow further in the next five years. Other “fast growing” users of mono-material films are said to be “chilled foods, frozen foods, and pharmaceuticals & medical products.”

Smithers notes that currently there are still some “technical limitations for packaging certain products” in mono-material films, therefore “further R&D to overcome these is a top priority.”

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Smithers (August 12, 2020). “Easy-to-recycle mono-material film packs to grow at 3.8% to reach $71 billion in 2025 says latest Smithers research.