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Ban on Single-use Plastics Driving Investments in Sustainable Alternatives

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by Vishnoo V , Senior Research Analyst, Rigid and Flexible Packaging
1 January 2017


Single-use plastic packaging poses the highest environmental risk, owing to the sheer volume of plastics disposed of annually. Many countries have taken measures to curb the use of such products. Retail firms and F&B companies have also complemented the efforts of government agencies by adopting more sustainable packaging alternatives such as paper bags and straws; reusable metal and glass alternatives; fiber-based products; and biodegradable plastics. As a result, the demand for these sustainable alternative products is forecast to skyrocket over the next 10 years, growing at about 15–25 percent CAGR over the period.

Nevertheless, the capacity growth in these categories has not kept pace with demand and, as a result, most markets remain highly undersupplied. A few players such as the Hoffmaster Group began early and are in the process of building up their capabilities, while simultaneously looking for viable acquisitions to grow inorganically, while other players have announced significant investments to build capacity and satisfy demand.


Many countries have implemented regulations that control the usage of single-use plastics in food service and retail industries. Singleuse plastics are a key factor driving waste to landfill. A few of the most damaging products are plastic straws, single-serve food containers, plastic bags, coffee lids, and cutlery.

Single-use plastics are also a key factor of ocean pollution, as about 30–35 percent of single-use plastics are left to flow into oceans. In 2016, the total consumption of single-use plastics stood at about 165 million metric tons. To counter this, many countries have passed regulations that minimize the use of single-use plastics, with some markets adopting an outright ban.

Single-use Plastic Regulations:

The United States and Canada are leaders in terms of control of single-use plastics. Many markets in these countries have implemented steps to regulate their use, with a nationwide ban to be implemented by 2021 in Canada.

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