The Sachet – A growing evil in single-use packaging

 

They look practical and harmless, but non-recyclable sachet packaging is exploding in emerging economies, overwhelming waste management systems and creating health and environmental problems. The news is rosy for investors however, as sachet growth is expected to reach 900 billion units by the end of 2021, and achieve a compound annual growth rate of 5.8% between 2021 and 2031, according to a report by Future Market Insights.

 

Sachets are small pouches made of plastic and often lined with a thin metal that hold consumer items such as condiments, shampoo, cooking oil, laundry detergent, and even water.  They are lightweight, and allow manufacturers to sell very small quantities to people in very poor markets. Made from multiple layers of plastic, metals and films, they are nearly impossible to recycle . When sold to countries with limited waste management systems, they end up being burned or dumped on land and waters.  

 

Because they have no value, sachets are ignored by the networks of casual waste-pickers who serve as the waste management system in many countries.  Instead, they are burned, dumped in rivers, or become thick layers of litter. Health problems emerge as food-contaminated sachets block drainage systems on land, creating a breeding ground for disease vectors. 

 

Future growth in sachet sales will be driven by expansion in emerging markets, often displacing “refill and reuse” distribution systems. 

 

But expansion is not only expected in the traditional developing markets.  Pacific Asia and North America sales are also likely to see vigorous expansion.  

 

According to Future Market Insights:

 

Asia Pacific and North America will emerge as leading markets. Collectively they are expected to account for more than 60% revenue share by 2031 end. This can be attributed to the increasing demand for sachet packaging across the personal care cosmetics industry in these regions.

 

What can ESRAG members do to reduce the growth of sachets packaging?  A simple answer is to seek alternatives to any product sold in a sachet, and when that is not possible, ask your favorite retailers for that product in more sustainable packaging.  Help spread awareness of this issue in organizations and schools, and encourage lawmakers to support measures to reduce or prohibit sachet packaging whenever possible.

 

Useful links: 

 

Sachet Packaging Market: Global Sales Analysis and Opportunity 2031 | FMI

 

Slave to sachets – How poverty worsens the plastics crisis in the Philippines

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