Bags and sacks can be found in a wide array of applications and in the most diverse forms. Depending on the application, they differ in material, size and their mechanical properties. Analysts at Ceresana forecast sales volume of bags and sacks in Europe to amount to approx. 9.12 million tonnes in 2020. This study covers the European market for bags and sacks manufactured from polyethylene films, other plastic films, woven plastics, and paper. Products made from cotton, jute etc. are not included. Polyethylene is the by far most common material for the production of bags and sacks. However, individual materials may account for highly different market shares in various applications. This study splits the market into the segments carrier bags, garbage bags and sacks, heavy duty and industry sacks, food packaging (including beverages) and the group of other applications.
The problem of one-way carrier bags made from plastic is not equally severe in all European countries. Besides per capita consumption and amount of reuse, negative effects on the environment also depend on the quality of the national waste management industry and the respective disposal and recycling systems. In part, these vary widely. The EU Commission stipulated the objective to reduce consumption of plastic carrier bags. An amendment of the corresponding directive 94/62/EG is supposed to allow for a national ban on certain types of carrier bags. In regard to the current situation, however, consistent action against one-way plastic carrier bags across the EU is unlikely to happen during the upcoming years.
Independent from EU legislation, individual countries already banned certain carrier bags or are trying to reduce consumption of various products by introducing extraordinary taxes and fees (e.g. Italy or France). Usually, thin one-way carrier bags made from polyethylene are targeted by these initiatives. Carrier bags made from bioplastics are often exempt from the bans and fees. These are plastics that are either made from renewable resources (e.g. corn starch) and/or are biodegradable. Importance and public reception of bags made from bioplastics has been increasing notably in the past years. This becomes apparent by the fact that national legislators make explicit reference to these products. But composting of these bags in dedicated facilities is not yet without problems. Until today, various circles continue to advertise the burning of these bags as the ecologically most sensible solution. Even though the market has been developing at highly dynamic rates in the past, carrier bags made from bioplastics alone will not provide the ultimate solution to the problem.
Bags and sacks in Europe