Machine Design

Plastics worry glass industry

The global glass-packaging industry will see lukewarm sales of $36.5 billion by 2010. Performance and technology in the plastics industry continue to make it a major threat.

Glass containers are considered a premium as compared to other materials. Prestige drinks such as champagne and beer are traditionally sold in glass bottles. In addition, glass containers can be fully recycled and reused. And unlike plastic containers, glass can be easily sorted for recycling on the basis of color and shape.

Europe retains the largest chunk (over 42%) of glass packaging, but the Asia-Pacific market should post strong results in coming years, mostly due to the strength of the Chinese market. Increasing affluence in China should boost local demand for consumer products.

Beverages are the largest enduse for glass containers, according to market-researcher Global Industry Analysts Inc. Last year, beverages accounted for 75% of the total market. This segment is also the fastest growing, with a projected annual growth of 2.9% in value and 2.6% in volume. Food represents the second largest end use, with $6.7 billion or 75.2 billion units sold last year.

Plastic packaging is expected to outpace not only glass, but other packaging materials as well. Leading players in the worldwide glass-packaging market include ACI Glass Packaging, Anchor Glass Container, Anadolu Cam Sanayii A.S., Ardagh Glass, Gerresheimer Group, Koa Glass Co., Ltd., Owens-Illinois, Saint-Gobain, and Toyo Seikan Kaisha.

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