Returnable Packaging Market - Global Industry Analysis, Growth, Key Trends, Regional Assessment, and Forecast 2020 - 2030

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Returnable Packaging Market - Global Industry Analysis, Growth, Key Trends, Regional Assessment, and Forecast 2020 - 2030

Status : July, 2022 | Packaging

Report Digest

Returnable packaging includes reusable pallets, racks, bulk containers, hand held containers and dunnage which are capable of moving the products safely and efficiently throughout. Requirement of Returnable or reusable packaging in well organised supply chains, with very tightly managed shipping loops is used by manufacturers and their suppliers therefore, growing the market. These are made up of woods, plastic and metal. As returnable packaging should be reusable to the user again and again, it is designed for durability, ease of use, ease of cleaning and with ease of repair. As these packaging can be reutilized, such as cardboard boxes, water jugs or glass bottles it can be opportunistic to customers.

As per GlobalData’s survey, after pandemic, 22% of global consumers now expect recyclable and reusable packaging significantly more important while 12% claimed it as a top priority.

Economic and Sustainable Benefits of Returnable Packaging may boost the Growth

Due to the repeated utilization of returnable packaging, investors can witness direct savings in packaging purchase. Even the higher initial purchase may end up into lower cost trip due to the repeated use. Returnable packaging provides direct benefit in reducing waste management costs. As less waste remains to manage for recycling, less labour is required to prepare the waste making it more economical. Because of reusable containers’ superior strength for stacking, it becomes more cost effective storage and transportation efficiencies. Therefore, environmental benefits due to recycling, reusability, significant carbon reduction, etc. are likely to fuel the market growth.

Focus of Automotive Industry on Returnable Packaging

Automotive industry has been increasingly adopting returnable packaging with returnable transport items owing to better production and safety, more efficient handling, better opportunities for outsourcing, combining and standardisation and lower carbon dioxide emissions throughout the life of packaging material. Efficient use of returnable packaging contributes to reducing waste, costs, and potential damage during transport and recent models have been developed in recent years for supporting the cost optimisation of use of sustainable packaging systems. Development of models for comparing different sustainable packaging systems is more prevalent and aims at providing the environmental and economic perspectives that companies need most.   

IoT Enabled Reusable Packaging making Smart Supply Chains Smarter

With the addition of IoT in supply chain, reusable transport packaging (RTP) has become an ultimate platform for load, case, and unit level inventory and data generation in the emerging supply chain. IoT enabled RTP ensures end to end, bottom up visibility of the entire supply chain, both forward and reverse movements if supported by business and technology models that drive data sharing. IoT enabled RTP applications include RFID tagged fast moving consumer good pallets, RFID tagged automotive shipping racks providing better visibility to the OEM, IoT sensor equipped cable drums providing visibility to customers of drum locations and reporting of how much cable is left on a particular drum. Therefore, smart technologies may pave way for more demand and adoption of returnable packaging.

Supply Chain Issues may inhibit the Market Growth

Returnable packaging is difficult in situations of long distance, low volume making the cost of returnables too high. Uncertainty in pallet and container theft remains the issue requires the incorporation for tracking devices resulting in other side costs. These products occupy major storage space and therefore require periodic maintenance. All these factors act as restraints for the market growth.

Competitive Landscape

Prominent players in the sector include Brambles (Australia), Menasha Corporation (US), Nefab Group (Sweden), IPL Plastics (Ireland), Schutz GmbH & Co. KGaA (Germany), Myers Industries (US), Rehrig Pacific Company (US), Vetropack Holding (Switzerland), Schoeller Allibert (Netherlands), Orbis Corporation, Amatech, Inc., Celina Industries, CHEP, RPR, Inc., UBEECO Packaging Solutions, Tri-Pack Plastics Ltd., etc.  

Coca-Cola recently in March 2021 have launched its new innovation of paper bottle which can open new world for sustainable packaging possibilities.  A new paper bottle for plant based beverage AdeZ aims to influence people regarding environmental friendly ways of packaging. The move will encourage other companies to launch plastic packaging alternatives and popularising it too.

The I-Drop Waterpod team was awarded in 2020 for innovative reusable packaging solutions by South African Plastics Pact in partnership with MAVA Foundation. It is a sustainable alternative to bottled water in single use plastics. Waterpod aims to expand the reach to shop owners as a convenient way of selling purified water refills. The product is affordable up till the fraction of the price of bottled water. It has a two stage nanomesh technology removing virus, bacteria and other contaminants. The factor that it can save tons of plastic by eliminating the use of bottled water is likely to grow its demand.

 Schaeffler and Flender recently in March 2021 introduced an eco-friendly packaging system named as “SMART Box”, a reusable transport box for large size bearings. SMART Box provides an innovative solution for environmental and climate protection. The SMART Box aims to replace previous disposable transport boxes and is currently used at several locations of the industrial division for bearing with an outer diameter of 350 to 750nm. The SMART Box results in carbon dioxide emission by more than 50%. The product and company aims to meet future demand and support the customers in environmental and climate protection.

Regional Outlook

Due to the presence of large number of manufacturing companies in China, India, Indonesia, Asia Pacific region is anticipated to lead the market sector. Furthermore, low cost of manufacturing is implying rapid industrialisation in the region. Increasing demand for environmental friendly and cost efficient packaging, strict regulations, benefits of long term cost reduction is attracting the manufacturers towards the investments. Furthermore, high return on investments due to reusability is an important opportunity to grow the market.

The ability to introduce technological advancements in pharmaceutical packaging, North America is one of the largest regions for pharmaceutical plastic packaging and second leading market for returnable packaging. Utilisation of rigid plastic containers in food and beverage industry, industrial chemical industry, paints, dyes industry is one of the major contributors in the development and adoption of returnable packaging. As US is the second largest importer of goods e.g. industrial machinery, medical equipment, etc. in the world, its growth in returnable packaging may drive the growth during the forecast period.

As European Union aims to become a global leader in transition to a circular economy, its launch and developments regarding returnable packaging paves the way for market growth. In May 2020, IFCO Systems and EURO POOL SYSTEM officially launched the Reusable Packaging Europe. RPE aims to promote pooling models and the use of reusable packaging as a circular service via the European institutions and industry partners. The association claims that the use of RPCs constitute the most efficient and sustainable solution for transport of food products. Such development and launches of programmes may act as drivers for market growth in Europe.


Based on material

  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Glass
  • Foam

Based on Product

  • Pallets
  • IBCs
  • Crates
  • Drums and Barrels
  • Bottles

Based on End Use

  • Health care
  • Food and Beverages
  • Automotive
  • Consumer Durables
  • Aerospace
  • Construction
  • Chemical

Based on Region

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa
  • South America

Key Questions Answered

  • Who are the leading key players in the returnable packaging market?

    Menasha Corporation (US), Nefab Group (Sweden), IPL Plastics (Ireland), Schutz GmbH & Co. KGaA (Germany), Myers Industries (US), Rehrig Pacific Company (US), Vetropack Holding (Switzerland),etc.

  • Which region is expected to hold the dominating share?

    Asia Pacific.

  • Which types of product are expected to witness leading growth?

    Drum and Barrels is projected to witness significant market share attributing to its wide share in transport, hazardous and non hazardous liquids.

  • What are the major types of end users in the sector?

    Health care, food, beverages, and automotive sector.

  •  What are the product types of returnable packaging?

    Pallets, IBCs, drums and barrels, crates, etc.

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