The European Tube Manufacturers Association (etma) has reported an almost 2% growth in flexible tube deliveries in the first half of 2023, reaching a total volume of approximately 6.2 billion units and signifying general stability in the market.

Deliveries to the pharmaceutical market are thought to have been the growth drivers, increasing by 5%. The cosmetics and dental care markets are also said to have developed positively, with each seeing an increase of around 2%.

On the other hand, tube deliveries to the food sector apparently stagnated, and a decline of around 20% took place in the market for household and technical products.

Although there is rising demand amongst customers to meet their own sustainability targets by implementing recycled materials into their packaging, the availability of high-quality post-consumer recycling materials is apparently causing bottlenecks.

Where the raw material and energy markets are concerned, easing circumstances have not brought price levels down to the levels predating the Russian invasion of Ukraine or the COVID-19 pandemic. etma also warns that Europe’s weak economy and high inflation are impacting the purchasing power and spending mood of consumers.

Mark Aegler, president of etma, says: “Overall, we are very satisfied with the result in the first half of the year, as the volume-dominant sales markets in particular developed positively.

“For plastic tubes, the quantities required will certainly not be achievable through mechanical recycling of used plastic packaging alone. Chemical recycling can be an additional option for closing the gap, especially for complex composite structures. Appropriate political guidelines are needed here at the European level so that the necessary investments in recycling capacities can take place.

“The political and economic environment remains difficult. Despite a still high order backlog, some tube manufacturers are now recording a slight decline in incoming orders. Although there is currently no reason to complain, forecasts for the market development in the second half of the year are subject to considerable uncertainty.”

In spite of the European energy crisis, deliveries of aluminium, laminate and plastic tubes rose by 1% at the beginning of 2022, etma previously claimed.

The organisation has also shared its fears that ongoing inflation and revisions to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive will threaten the purchasing power of consumers and the accessibility of recycled plastics when it comes to tube packaging.

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