1.1 What is Packaging?
We use packaging every single day and, likely, do not give much conscious thought to it.
But when you do start to think about it, every single product that you buy comes in some sort
Try to think of one item that does not have a package!
Packages serve several
functions (which we will get into more detail about later), but ultimately they get products from
the points of manufacturing to the points of use.
There are multiple formal definitions for
packaging that exist.
Soroka defines a package as:
“A form that is intended to contain, protect/preserve, aid in safe and efficient transport and
distribution, and finally act to inform and motivate a purchase decision on the part of a
Soroka, Walter. Fundamentals of Packaging Technology
. Naperville: Institute of Packaging
1.2 Packaging Use
The use of packaging in any society depends on several factors including culture,
economic status, and user demographics.
In the US, each person consumes approximately 500
lb of packaging on average each year; this is about 1.5 lb per person each day.
usually ends up disposed in a landfill, incinerated, recycled, or reused, it is still a significantly
small amount of waste in comparison to other waste streams.
The main categories of packaging materials are paper, plastic, metal, and glass.
Packaging is generally considered to be the third largest industry in the US, as it uses about 45%
of all glass, 30% of all plastic, and 50% of all paper and paperboard manufactured.
percentages of total packaging materials used globally are:
1.3 Packaging Industry
There are approximately 300,000 companies of some type in the packaging industry.
The economic value of this industry is $118 billion annually in North America and $424 billion
Packaging is actually the largest employer industry in the US, employing more than
The industry categories include food, beverage, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical among
The percentages of each type and market values for these sectors, out of total
packaged products globally, are:
18% beverage - $76 billion
38% food - $161 billion