Dumping of plastics in landfills and in marine environment are having adverse effects across the globe. Also, microplastics found in most of the water sources, affects both human and marine life. The current widely adopted crude-based plastics are degraded to reduce its adverse impact. However, degradation of plastics also requires energy intensive processes and in turn, rises its own set of challenges.

A high percentage of landfill issues comes from single-use plastics, especially those used in packaging. Hence, developing sustainable alternative materials, whether it is recyclable or biodegradable or compostable, can overcome key challenges. Bio-based polymers, paper, pulp, fiber, wood, glass, metal, and silicones are among the materials that are being introduced as packaging, in both single and blended forms. Similar to the petroleum-based plastics, bio-based plastics can either be biodegradable and non- biodegradable, however, the non-biodegradable bio-based plastics still has less global warming potential even during its incineration. There has been high interest in bio-based plastics as a food packaging material across the globe while the potential adoption of paper packaging in the food and cosmetic products in Europe and Asia Pacific are rising.

This research service titled “Emerging Alternatives for Single-use Plastics in Packaging” provides a review of the both current and emerging alternative materials that provides a sustainable option to the crude-based single-use plastics in packaging across applications such as food & beverage, healthcare, personal care, consumer goods and its potential adoption in the transportation, logistics and supply chain industries. The research service also highlights the key factors that influence R&D and adoption efforts across various geographic regions. It also provides a list of noteworthy innovations, from both technology and product perspective across the globe and highlights key innovators.