With the American manufacturing comeback, the industry-wide, across-the-board question for many companies and industries seems to be “How did you fare?”
In general, the paper industry has changed and shrunk over the last decade. With more and more products and people going electronic, there has been a resulting shift in the industry, with a consolidation to fewer suppliers. However, the decrease that paper has seen has not affected the paper packaging industry in the same way. In fact, paper packaging is doing very well—and is projected to keep going upwards.
With more requirements for products and retail (an industry coming back in a big way), packaging demand is on the upswing, with paper packaging being significantly in demand. One of the reasons for this is consumers’—and thereby manufacturers’—interest in going green. As this demand for sustainability grows, there’s been a shift away from plastics and more toward paper. People are wanting their packaging to be recyclable and more earth-friendly, and paper fits that model better. According to this article, “while most paper packaging is recycled, nearly 85 percent of plastic packaging and containers (including the biodegradable kind) wind up in a landfill”. In fact, pretty much any paper is recyclable or compostable; at least 90% of it, whether virgin paper or not, can be recycled.
So while printing and writing paper is shrinking, paper packaging—the answer to people’s desire for sustainability—is growing. And with paper being less expensive than plastic, it’s as beneficial to the wallet as it is to the planet. With these benefits, and the world’s demand for sustainability increasing faster than ever, optimism in the paper packaging industry abounds.