Is the plastic bag going extinct? By no means has it come to that. Yet consumption of plastic carrier bags has been falling ever since the EU and various governments started to take action against them.

Simultaneously, new opportunities are emerging for manufacturers of thin plastic webs. Ceresana has analyzed the European market for plastic films for the second time. This includes flexible plastic bags and sacks, but also packaging films, shrink and stretch films, agricultural films and other films, such as construction films. The new study covers films made of polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), PET and PVC as well as other plastics (as aggregates).
Less Bags, More Sacks
National bans and charges instigated by the EU's "Green Deal" and "Plastics Strategy" are beginning to have an effect: plastic carrier bags and shirt bags are increasingly being replaced by paper bags. In turn, the consumption of trash bags is increasing because fewer and fewer carrier bags are finding a secondary use as trash bags. The market researchers at Ceresana expect this trend to continue until around 2026, when demand for trash bags will be falling again slightly. The market for heavy-duty and industrial bags is expected to take almost as long to recover from the Corona slump and the war in Ukraine and return to 2019 figures.
Shrink and Stretch
During the Corona pandemic in 2020 and 2021, there was increased demand for bags and packaging films for food. This effect is now fading again: many households now have to save due to rising energy prices and inflation. Ceresana expects renewed growth in this segment from 2024 at the earliest – although not as strong as in the past, as higher costs and environmental regulations are dampening demand. In general, the market for shrink and stretch films is highly dependent on overall economic developments.
Profiting from Climate Change
The growing market for agricultural films proves that crises also open up new opportunities: increasingly, extreme weather conditions in agriculture need to be cushioned by auxiliary materials and delicate products such as asparagus or strawberries need to be protected more effectively. In some countries, efforts to intensify agriculture are also increasing the use of agricultural films. Mulch films, anti-thaw films and thermal films can be used to reduce evaporation and weed infestation; harvesting can be brought forward or delayed as desired.
Up-to-Date Market Data on Plastic Films in Europe
Chapter 1 details the Europe-wide demand and production of plastic films (in 1,000 tonnes) as well as the revenues generated with plastic films (in billions of USD and EUR). Furthermore, the study analyzes the demand of plastic films broken down by the different plastic types and broken down by the individual application areas. Moreover, the production is split by plastic types.
In Chapter 2, production of (split by plastic type), demand of (broken down by plastic type and application), and turnover generated with plastic films are provided for 21 individual countries:
Production split by plastic types:
Polyethylene (PE)
Polypropylene (PP)
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
Other Plastics
Demand split by plastic types:
Polyethylene (PE)
Polypropylene (PP)
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
Other Plastics
Demand split by application:
Packaging Films
Bags and Sacks
Shrink and Stretch Films
Agricultural Films
Other Applications
Chapter 3 provides company profiles of the most important manufacturers of plastic films in Europe, clearly arranged according to contact details, revenue, profit, product range, production sites and brief profile. Detailed profiles are provided by 87 manufacturers, such as Berry Plastics Corporation, Coveris Holdings S.A., Innovia Films Ltd, Klöckner Pentaplast Group, Mondi Group, Renolit SE, RKW SE, Toray Industries, Inc., and Treofan Group.


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