Sustainable packaging will grow to 32% of the total global packaging market by 2014, up from just 21% in 2009, according to Sustainable Packaging, new study from Pike Research.

Plastic-based packaging, which represents 35% of all materials used, will be the fastest?growing sector of the sustainable packaging market over the next five years. Metal-based packaging, one of the easiest materials to recycle, will continue to be the sector with the highest percentage of sustainability – by 2014, more than 63% of metal-based packaging will be environmentally friendly.

“The $429 billion global packaging industry is huge but extremely fragmented, with no clear market leaders,” says managing director Clint Wheelock. “As such, the move toward sustainable packaging represents a broad-based effort by manufacturers, retailers, industry groups, and governments to promote the design of minimal packaging that can be easily reclaimed. A tremendous amount of innovation is going into reducing energy requirements to manufacture packaging and using more recyclable and compostable materials, but there is still a long way to go.”

Pike Research estimates that the worldwide market for packaging is currently valued at $429 billion. We forecast the market to surpass $500 billion in sales within five years, an annual growth rate exceeding the total global increase in GDP. Paper and paper-based packaging are the largest sectors with more than 40% of the global packaging market.