Materials used

Plastic packaging and flexible packaging can be made of complementary materials: virgin plastics, recycled plastics, bio-based plastics, association with other materials (paper, aluminium…).

Virgin Plastics

5 polymers are mainly used by plastic packaging and flexible packaging manufacturers and represent more than 90% of plastic packaging: HDPE, LDPE, PET, PP and PS/EPS.
Packaging is the leading user of plastic materials, with nearly 45.1% of the plastic consumed in France.

Recycled Plastics

57% of packaging manufacturers incorporated post-consumer recycled plastics into their packaging in 2017. (source ELIPSO).
However, the use of recycled plastics for the manufacture of packaging remains limited to certain resins and applications, in particular because of food constraints.
Recycled PET is used to make bottles or trays, for example, while recycled LDPE is used to make plastic bags for waste collection.

Bio-based Plastics

Bio-based plastics, produced from vegetable biomass, were used by 27% of packaging manufacturers in 2017 (source ELIPSO). Biobased plastics are currently mainly used for the production of bags, which is a consequence of the ban of single-use plastic bags (energy transition law for green growth). They are biobased and home compostable. There are also biobased raw materials which can be used for the production of rigid packaging or film.
Other biobased packaging are also under development: cups, trays, etc.