Rising Sales of Goods to Boost Demand for Recycled Packaging


Cleveland, OH, March 16, 2020 — Total post-consumer packaging recovered in the US from the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream is forecast to increase 1.3% in volume terms through 2023, according to Recovered Packaging: United States, a report recently released by Freedonia Focus Reports. The ongoing availability of residential and commercial recycling and increasing MSW generation will continue to elevate recovery volumes over the forecast period. Firms across a broad range of industries including paper and glassmaking will continue to advocate recycling as a strategy to boost the available stock of recyclable materials, which will maintain cost advantages over their virgin material counterparts. Recovered packaging materials are useful in the production of a variety of new products. Thus, rising demand for packaging due to increasing sales of nondurable and durable goods is expected to drive growth in volumes of packaging recovered. Recovered paper packaging will account for the vast majority of volume growth, driven by gains in paper packaging shipments and ongoing demand for old corrugated containers (OCC) as an export product.

However, heightened efforts by firms to lightweight packaging will slacken growth in the volumes generated, likewise weighing on the available volume of packaging that can be recycled. Furthermore, many countries that recently figured as major importers of US recyclables – such as China, Indonesia, and Malaysia – have tightened their quality standards, leaving US exporters with a major backlog in recovered material inventories that exceed acceptable contamination rates, weighing on prices and profitability.

These and other key insights are featured in Recovered Packaging: United States. This report forecasts to 2023 US recovery of post-consumer packaging from the US MSW stream in short tons. For comparison, this report also forecasts the total generation of post-consumer packaging in the MSW stream. Total packaging recovery and generation are segmented by material in terms of:

  • paper
  • glass
  • wood
  • metal
  • plastic
  • other packaging (generation only)

To illustrate historical trends, total packaging volumes recovered and generated and the various segments are provided in annual series from 2008 to 2018.

The annual volume of material recovered from other packaging, such as that made of textiles and leather, is negligible, and is therefore excluded from total recovered packaging. Throughout this report, measures in tons refer to short tons.

More information about the report is available at: