The Americas Plastic Bags & Sacks market was valued at USD 5.71 billion in 2020. It is expected to reach a value of USD 6.14 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 1.16% over the forecast period (2021 - 2026). The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted retail plastic bags sales in the region. The industry has been experiencing slowdowns in the supply chain, primarily owing to the lockdown of factories. According to the US Census Bureau, the retail sale decreased in Apr 2020 and is further expected to fluctuate in 2020. There has been a disruption in the whole supply chain network in the region. However, few stores, such as groceries, supermarkets, among other stores, were allowed to sell daily need products, which are expected to offset the impact to a certain extent.
- According to the Center for Biological Diversity, Americans have been using around 100 billion plastic bags every year, which requires about 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. The Americans make use of an average of 365 plastic bags per person every year.
- However, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, plastics have been a rapidly growing segment of municipal solid waste (MSW). While plastic is found in all significant MSW categories, the containers and packaging category holds the most plastic tonnage. This category includes plastic bags, sacks, and wraps, among another packaging; polyethylene terephthalate bottles and jars; high-density polyethylene (HDPE) natural bottles; among different containers.
- The state legislatures have also taken multiple measures to reduce the prevalence of plastic bags at grocery stores and other businesses. The reduction of this bag can mitigate harmful impacts to the oceans, lakes, rivers, forests, and the wildlife that inhabit them. It can also relieve pressure on the landfills and waste management. While some states have been focusing on implementing effective recycling programs, others have been imposing bans or fees to discourage plastic bags. For instance, in May 2021, the Colorado House decided to ban plastic carryout bags and expanded polystyrene foam food service containers statewide with HB1162.
- Moreover, changing lifestyles and the consequent dependence of consumers on processed, packaged, and precooked food has also been increasing the demand for plastic packaging solutions. The advent of the supermarket culture has also altered the shopping landscape and has impacted the need for plastic bags, especially in the retail sector. The altering lifestyle of people has resulted in the shift from home-cooked to ready-to-eat products.
- In July 2020, Walmart, Target, and CVS Health announced that they collaborated with the Kroger Co. and Walgreens in the "Consortium to Re-invent the Retail Bag," an organization founded to test single-use plastic shopping bags options, which mass retailers across the region now use. The retailers teamed up with The Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners and have collectively pledged more than USD 15 million to launch the 'Beyond the Bag' Initiative.
- Further, Governments across the region have responded to public concerns regarding packaging waste, especially plastic packaging waste that includes bags and sacks. They are implementing regulations to both minimize environmental waste and improve waste management processes. In the United States, 16 states have enacted statewide laws around packaging waste, which tend to target single-use plastics.
Key Market Trends
Consumer and Retail Accounts for the Largest Market Share
- As a general trend, for many years, thin, plastic grocery store bags have been most commonly used in the region that is made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE). However, restrictions are increasing on single-use bags for groceries and other purchases to protect sea animals, wildlife, and humans. Multiple states that include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon, and Vermont have previously banned single-use plastic bags.
- Multiple retail chains have also taken initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, Whole Foods no longer allowed its customers to bring in personal, reusable bags during the pandemic. Also, Nugget Market implemented one of the most aggressive policies to mitigate coronavirus spread in its stores. On its website, regarding reusable bags, the new policy stated that to help protect the guests and associates, for the time being, the supermarket will only be using single-use bags (or new reusable bags purchased during the transaction) when bagging groceries at checkout.
- The market has been in transition mode in the region. This transition includes the significant changes in regulatory policies for plastic bags and the changing consumer preferences. With many online retailers expanding their brick-and-mortar footprint, the demand for plastic bags is anticipated to grow over the forecast period. Also, the rising awareness of plastic waste in the region has led various companies to adopt sustainability solutions to boost their brand image and sales.
- Further, the increase in expansion projects and high footfall in supermarkets have also increased the sale of plastic bags. The growth is additionally expected to increase by several investments made by supermarket chains, boosting the economy of the retail market. Supermarkets are one of the most visited stores in the region, making them one of the most profitable outlets.
- Many grocery stores are taking action to meet the environmental targets they have previously pledged and to meet customer demand. Retailers and brands are setting strategies around sustainability. For example, in Jan 2021, Albertsons Cos joined the consortium to reinvent the retail bag as a supportive partner to help reduce plastic waste through the Beyond the Bag Initiative. Albertsons operates 2,252 food and drug stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia.
United States Accounts for the Largest Market Share
- The United States is witnessing prominent usage of plastic bags and sacks due to rising consumption across various end-users ranging from commercial, industrial, and other sectors. According to the Earth Policy Institute, more than 100 billion plastic bags pass through the hands of U.S. consumers every year, almost one bag per person each day.
- Moreover, the fast-moving lifestyle across the country and the growing retail market penetration are also driving the country's usage of plastic bags. According to MRI Simmons data, 79.93 million consumers used on an average two bags in 7 days in the year 2020, and 92.88 million consumers used on an average two bags in 7 days in the year 2020.
- The retailer's Southern California stores offer bags made with up to 90% post-consumer plastics that would otherwise end up in oceans and waterways. And at the checkout lanes, Albertsons is working to reduce double-bagging and increase the number of items in each bag.
- Moreover, in Dec 2020, Meijer signed onto Beyond the Bag Initiative. Also, in Jan 2020, Meijer opened its first small-format store, Woodward Corner Market, without single-use plastic bags. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, reusable bags have been restricted with the exceptions of customers using the company's Shop & Scan technology and self-checkouts.
- Further, the industry sector's growth in the United States is also driving the market for industrial plastic bags, mainly heavy-duty plastic sack bags, FIBC bags, P.P. woven sacks, Baffle bags, and others. The rising growth of the export market in the United States is majorly driving the growth of FIBC plastic bags in the country. Performance standards for FIBCs were established and issued by the Chemical Packaging Committee of the Packaging Institute, USA, under T-4102-85. These standards were used to obtain exemptions until DOT included flexible containers with the other types of IBCs in the Title 49 CFR for hazardous products.
The Americas Plastic Bags and Sacks Market is highly competitive, owing to few players in the market. As a result, the market appears to be consolidated in nature. In addition, many companies in the market are adopting strategies like product innovation, partnership, mergers, and acquisitions. Some of the key developments are:
- January 2021 - ProAmpac LLC has announced the recyclable packaging for Ocean Spray's Craveology Tuscan Herb snack mix. The package uses ProActive Recyclable R-1000 film. The product is heat resistant and offers superior seal quality. In addition, the company offers two options for the design of the packaging, which are the matte finish or the gloss finish.
- September 2020 - DICK'S Sporting Goods, which is one of the largest US-based, omnichannel sporting goods retailers, announced two significant actions to eliminate single-use plastic bags: a commitment to remove all single-use point-of-sale plastic bags from its stores by 2025 and a partnership with Closed Loop Partners' Center for the Circular Economy.
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