etma 07.03.2024

The European tube market remained stable in 2023 despite adverse conditions, according to the european tube manufacturers association, etma, with deliveries by its tube manufacturers at the previous year’s level with a total volume of just under 11.9 billion units.

According to etma, while deliveries to the dental care sector increased by 2%, demand from the pharmaceutical and cosmetics markets both fell by around 2%. Deliveries to the food industry had the same result as the previous year.

“Despite the multiple crises we are currently seeing around the world, the tube market remained stable in 2023. The war in Ukraine and Gaza, stubborn inflation and the associated political and economic uncertainties are weighing on consumer sentiment and buying behaviour. The overall result achieved by the European tube industry in 2023 is therefore quite satisfactory,” says etma president Mark Aegler.

The industry is expecting a new European packaging regulation to be passed before the European elections, which will stipulate numerous stricter requirements for the sustainability of packaging. In particular, the recyclability of packaging and its design-for-recycling guidelines are to be updated.

In the European tube industry, etma says improvements in sustainability have been realized through the use of less material, less complex packaging structures, and optimal recyclability. The result is reflected in optimised resource efficiency.

“However, the quotas for the use of recycled material in plastic packaging contained in the new EU packaging regulation will pose major challenges for the packaging industry. These can only be solved through appropriate investments in the entire sorting, processing and recycling supply chain and through corresponding progress in the authorization of recycling processes for polyolefins in the EU. In fact, the availability of high-quality post-consumer recycled plastics is still very limited at present,” adds Aegler.

Despite the difficult political and economic conditions, the European tube industry is cautiously optimistic about the first half of 2024.

“The European tube industry has always proven to be resilient in years of crisis in the past. In addition, energy costs and inflation are easing slightly. The further development of the raw materials and freight markets, on the other hand, is rather uncertain. However, the biggest challenge for the industry in the coming years will probably be increasingly fierce competition for qualified employees,” summarizes Aegler.

In summer last year, etma reported that flexible tube deliveries rose by 2% in the first half of 2023, with deliveries to the pharmaceutical market thought to be the growth drivers – on the other hand, tube deliveries to the food sector apparently stagnated and a decline of around 20% took place in the household and technical products market.

In other flexible packaging news, 2023 saw Sappi and Xeikon collaborate on a new toner formulation for printing directly onto flexible, paper-based packaging materials – a solution thought to preserve a pack’s recyclability and prevent the need for additional varnishing or lamination to protect direct print.

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