Study Reveals Potential for 94% Reduction in CO2 Emissions from Packaging by 2045

June 17, 2023 Off By Sebastian Reisig

A study conducted by the GVM Society for Packaging Market Research and the ifeu Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg on behalf of eight industry associations reveals that greenhouse gas emissions associated with German packaging could be reduced by 94% by 2045. The study forecasts that packaging consumption in Germany peaked in 2021 and will steadily decrease in the future. On the other hand, the use of recycled material and recycling rates will increase.

The research, titled “The Contribution of Recyclable Packaging to the 2045 Climate Neutrality Target,” was conducted in May 2023 and examines the role of recyclable packaging in achieving Germany’s 2045 climate neutrality goal. The study modelled scenarios for 2030 and 2045, with 2021 as the reference point. It took into account approved government or European steering interventions, but not planned or expected specific regulations, like the new European Packaging Regulation (PPWR).

Results from the study suggest that packaging-related greenhouse gas emissions will continuously decrease, with a 94% reduction possible by 2045, corresponding to a saving of 18,025 kt of CO2 equivalents. The savings are attributed to factors like lighter packaging, multiple-use, less packaging-intensive consumer behaviour, increased use of recycled material and greatly improved circular management of packaging.

The study also projects that packaging consumption, which was 16 million tonnes (excluding wood) in 2021, will decrease to 14 million tonnes by 2030 and to 11.7 million tonnes by 2045. The report reveals that the packaging and recycling industry can play a crucial role in achieving Germany’s climate neutrality. Increased use of recycled raw materials and other measures are predicted to have a significant impact in the coming decades.