Source: Valipac, DG Statistics
Packaging is an important source of waste, and thus is an environmental burden that needs to be avoided. The chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry is doing all it can to reduce this waste stream.
Where possible, packaging is re-used or recycled: in 2019, the chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry used about 140,000 tonnes of industrial packaging (i.e. the packaging for products used as part of the production process, such as wooden pallets, metal drums, cardboard boxes, plastic films etc.), of which 52% was reusable. Between 2009 and 2019, the production in the sector increased by 65%, while the total packaging waste remained stable thanks to the use of pipelines, larger packaging and bulk transport, and thinner and lighter packaging. As a result, the sector generates barely 4% of all industrial packaging waste, although it is the major economic contributor to the manufacturing industry as a whole.
Within the sector, as in other industrial sectors, separate collection of recyclable packaging waste can still be improved.