Megatrends support demand for recyclable packaging


Metsä Board is actively analysing trends and megatrends as well as changes in consumption, habits and sustainability to develop future packaging solution.


Population growth and a rise in living standards have led to an increase the consumption of packaged products and have created environmental and sustainability challenges which must be solved.


Globalisation continues, but it is changing shape. The annual growth of global e-commerce is expected to be 17%, on average, between 2018 and 2023, and its share of the retail trade is forecast to rise from 12% to 22%. In e-commerce, a package is handled 20 times on average – four times as often as in traditional retail trade. The challenge is to find an optimum packaging solution for products which provides adequate protection during long-haul transport while avoiding over-packaging.


More than half of the world’s population already lives in cities which cover 2% of the global land area, but generate 70% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). Cities are also responsible for 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and waste. Urbanisation shapes the structure of the retail trade while influencing package sizes and the requirements imposed on packaging, such as recyclability.


Packaging plays an important role in combating climate change. It protects products during transportation and storage and extends a product’s lifetime, thereby reducing waste. The carbon footprint of packaging is usually minimal compared to the packaged product. A damaged product to be disposed has often a considerably larger carbon footprint. The carbon load resulting from packaging can be reduced through recycling. The production of light-weight and ecological packaging materials consumes less water, raw material and energy.


Digitalisation offers solutions for all the other megatrends. Digitalisation allows for increasing operational efficiency and reducing the volume of waste in production, for example. Smart packaging conveys important data on a product’s transport chain and condition, reduces food waste and in increases product safety in pharmaceutical and food packaging.