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Returnable Packaging Market - By Product Type (Containers & Totes, Pallets, Drums & Barrels, Intermediate Bulk Containers, Dunnage), By Material (Plastic, Metal, Wood), By End Use, By Distribution Channel & Forecast, 2024 – 2032

  • Report ID: GMI5919
  • Published Date: May 2024
  • Report Format: PDF

Returnable Packaging Market Size

Returnable Packaging Market was valued around USD 95.01 billion in 2023 and is anticipated to register a CAGR of 6% between 2024 and 2032. The industry has seen significant growth in recent years, driven by a confluence of environmental, economic, and logistical factors such as, waste management, shift towards sustainability practices by industries and growing regulatory scrutiny on the usage of plastic packaging. This technology appeals to eco-conscious consumers, as many returnable packaging includes reusable pallets in various industries to distribute and pack items properly.

Returnable Packaging Market

As the market is expanding due to the central need to protect the environment. The growing problems with plastic pollution and overflowing landfills, presents a alarming concern of environmental pollution, to curb the problem, organizations are inclining towards the usage of returnable packaging options, as an alternative to single-use packaging items. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimates that 460 million tons of plastic are being produced globally every year and predicts that, should current trends be allowed to continue, by 2060 this figure will have tripled. Concurrently, there's a surging demand for sustainable items and packaging, aligning with global efforts to reduce carbon footprints and promote greener living. Returnable packaging greatly lowers waste production by allowing containers to be reused across several cycles.

According to the reusable packaging association, the environmental impact of packaging, manufacture and disposal can be reduced by using a single reusable crate to replace hundreds of single-use cardboard boxes. Furthermore, the economic benefits of returnable packaging are becoming increasingly recognized. While the initial cost of returnable containers may be higher compared to disposable alternatives, these costs are offset by their extended lifespan. Long-term savings in costs result from the removal of the need to continuously buy single-use materials when using reusable packaging.


Additionally, government regulations and policy changes are also playing a crucial role in the expansion of the market.  Many countries have implemented strict regulations on single-use plastics.  There are bans on specific types of plastic packaging and schemes such as extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes are prompting businesses to explore alternative packaging solutions, thereby promoting the usage of returnable packaging materials.

Returnable packaging requires reverse logistics systems with tasks such as, managing the logistics of returning and tracking reusable packaging containers. It may require more investment and efficient systems for collection, cleaning, and redistribution. This can pose challenges in terms of transportation, storage, and coordination. Also, the upkeep and cleanliness of returnable packaging should be maintained to maintain the customer trust which can add complexity and cost to the returnable packaging materials.

Returnable Packaging Market Trends

The incorporation of RFID tags and sensors in returnable packaging materials is growing in a upward direction. According to credible sources, usage of RFID tags and sensors is projected to reach USD 42.3 billion by 2027. This trend has a revolutionary capability to transform the supply chain market of returnable packaging goods. The returnable containers with incorporated RFID Tags, enable real-time tracking throughout the whole supply chain. This makes inventory management and logistics more efficient by enabling companies to locate each container precisely. Thereby, optimizing delivery schedules and ensuring stock availability. Sensor technology can be incorporated to monitor factors such as, temperature and pressure in the container, therefore, to prevent from any transportation mishaps and optimizing the conditions of perishable and non-perishable goods.

For example, temperature-sensitive medication can be packed in returnable containers with sensors, therefore, can be monitored during transport, and by alerting logistics, if any corrective action is required. Furthermore, the market for returnable packaging material is growing, with the manufacturers developing solutions for addressing specific industry needs. For example, for beverage industry, it is necessary to maintain the temperature of cold and hot beverages, while transportation in returnable packages. Therefore, to address these challenges, manufacturers are developing innovative lightweight, insulated plastic materials made from polymers like copolyesters and co-polyamides made containers which are lightweight, durable and can be used multiple times.

Returnable Packaging Market Analysis

Returnable Packaging Market Size, By Product Type, 2021 – 2032, (USD Billion)

Based on product type, the market is segmented into Containers & Tote, Pallets, Drums & Barrels, Intermediate Bulk Containers, Dunnage, Others (Bottles). The pallet segment witnessed significant growth in 2023, emerging as the dominant force, generating a revenue of USD 44.51 billion and is expected to reach USD 70.84 billion by 2032. The popularity of reusable pallets can be attributed to a confluence of economic, environmental, and logistical factors such as cost savings and supply chain efficiency. As compared to single use pallets, the reusable pellets, constructed from wood, plastic can offer significantly more trips and are known for their longevity, which results in substantial cost savings as compared to cost associated with disposable pellets. With durable construction, the reusable pellets can provide product protection during transportation, thereby reducing product returns as well, thus, saving costs associated with transportation. Additionally, pallet manufacturers provide a diverse range of materials tailored for the specific requirements of various industries. For example, heavy-duty metal pallets are well-suited for the transportation of large machinery, whereas lightweight plastic pallets are preferable for the delicate handling of electronic goods.

Returnable Packaging Market Revenue Share, By Material, (2023)

Based on material, the returnable packaging market is divided into plastic, metal, wood, others (glass, etc.). The plastic segment dominated the market in 2023, capturing a substantial market share of 62.5%. This segment is anticipated to maintain its lead, projected to reach a valuation of USD 94.4 billion by 2032. The plastic returnable packaging provides more durability with their lightweight advantage. The lighter weight plastic reduces the transportation costs across the supply chain and is beneficial for high-volume transportation trips, thereby being cost cutting. These containers can withstand multiple trips and harsh conditions, thereby minimizing replacement costs and maximizing return on investment. Plastic offers exceptional flexibility which allows the manufacturers to create returnable containers, catering to the specific needs of the industries such as, pharmaceutical, automotives.


Based on end use, the market is divided into automotive, Food & Beverages, Retail & Consumer Goods, Healthcare, and others. The food and beverage industry segment dominated the market in 2023, capturing a substantial market share of 35.7%. This segment is anticipated to maintain its lead, projected to reach a valuation of USD 53.5 billion by 2032. The food and beverage industry is inclining towards more sustainable practices, by minimizing waste and applied circular economy. When compared to disposable packaging materials, reusable packaging offers a sustainable alternative by drastically lowering plastic pollution and landfill waste. Additionally, minimization of product damage and cost savings also occur when returnable packaging is used in food and beverage industry. The durable design of reusable containers offers enhanced protection from damage, accidents and spilling of the products during transportation and storage, therefore, minimizing product damage and associated economic losses.

Based on distribution channel, the market is segmented into direct and indirect sales channels. In 2023, the direct sales channel segment emerged as the market leader, commanding a substantial 75.8% market share and has registered revenue of USD 72.09 billion by 2032. Direct sales channels facilitate open communication between manufacturers and end-users, thereby building strong relationships and providing customized solutions catering to customers’ needs. This also reduces lead time and efficiently provides businesses with their solutions thereby smooth operation of the supply chain.

Asia Pacific Returnable Packaging Market Size, 2021 – 2032, (USD Billion)

Asia Pacific region holds a returnable packaging market share of 34 % of the overall market. The Asia Pacific market is expected to reach USD 58.09 billion by 2032. The region has been showing exponential growth in the e-commerce industry, therefore online shopping needs secure and efficient packaging solutions. Reusable packaging offers a sustainable alternative to single-use options, catering to the needs of e-commerce giants and online retailers and by providing sustainable solutions. Also, rising disposable incomes across the Asia Pacific region are leading to increased consumer spending and a growing demand for high-quality, brand-name products. Reusable packaging with enhanced branding opportunities can resonate with consumers seeking convenience and sustainability which also enhances the brand image and therefore, result in increased brand loyalty.

Asia Pacific market is growing at the fastest growth rate of around 34.3% in the global returnable packaging industry during 2023. The region’s increasing per capita income coupled with rapid industrialization are the factors boosting the growth in the Asia Pacific region.

In terms of country China dominated with the overall market share of around 22.3% in the Asia Pacific market. China has a large and growing consumer base with increasing disposable income, enabling more households to invest in online shopping. This expanding middle class shows a strong interest in online shopping, driving the demand for returnable packaging items.

Europe is dominating the returnable packaging market with a market share of around 27.9% in the year 2023 and expected to reach around USD 40 billion by 2032. Europe boasts strict regulations as the European Union's Single-Use Plastics Directive aims to significantly reduce the use of single-use plastic packaging by 2030. Thereby, minimizing plastic waste generation and promoting a circular economy model.

In terms of country U.K. dominated with the overall market share of around 21.3% in the Europe market. The "War on Plastic" initiative and the upcoming Plastic Packaging Tax aim to reduce single-use plastic waste and incentivize sustainable packaging solutions. By promoting sustainable practices and implementing stricter regulations against single use plastics, the U.K. government is promoting more returnable packaging solutions and expanding the market growth.

North American market is growing at the fast growth rate of around 21% in the global returnable packaging industry during 2023. North American consumers are getting increasingly environmentally conscious and inclining towards sustainable business practices. They also prefer buying sustainable items for themselves. Additionally, Landfill waste and plastic pollution are growing concerns across North America. Reusable packaging systems minimize waste generation and promote a circular economy model.

In terms of country U.S. dominated with the overall market share of around 78.5% in the North American market. Several US states and localities are already implementing regulations or bans on single-use plastic bags and other disposable packaging items. These initiatives are creating a growing market for reusable alternatives.


Returnable Packaging Market Share

Returnable Packaging Market Company Share Analysis, (2023)

The key players operating in the market are Schoeller Allibert, NEFAB GROUP, ORBIS Corporation, NEFAB GROUP, PPS Midlands Limited all together comprises a market share of 5-10% in 2023. The market is fragmented. It's a dynamic market with a mix of established players and new entrants.

Returnable Packaging Market Companies

Major players operating in the market include:

  • Schoeller Allibert
  • ORBIS Corporation
  • PPS Midlands Limited
  • RePak Solutions Inc.
  • Loop Industries
  • Returnity Innovations LLC
  • Reusables Recovery Services
  • Recircul8 Packaging Ltd.
  • Circular Packaging Solutions, Inc.
  • ReturnPack Solutions
  • Recyclable Packaging Technologies
  • EcoReturn Packaging Solutions
  • Reusable Resources Group
  • Revolve Packaging Systems
  • ReturnCycle Packaging Solutions
  • Replenishable Packaging Solutions
  • Recapture Packaging Solutions
  • Reclaimable Packaging Corporation

Returnable Packaging Industry News

  • In April 2024, Uber Eats to tackle carbon emissions and packaging waste by offering takeaway food in reusable, returnable packaging, and are extending their partnership to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other areas on the West Coast of the United States.
  • In March 2024, Brau Union Austria introduced innovative sustainable bottle for the brewing industry. The Vetropack group in collaboration with the Bran Union Austria introduced 0.33 liters of returnable bottle for the brewing industry in Austria. The bottle will offer more crates per pallet thereby, offering economic and ecological benefits such as reduced logistics costs, shorter transport routes, and decreased CO2 emissions.
  • In March 2024, the French beauty brand Yves Rocher announced the launch of its Bain de Nature eco refill packs, which contains bath and shower gels, and are made from 90% recycled plastic, This initiative, as reported includes packaging which uses four times less plastic than conventional 400ml bottles, which aims to address consumer demand for more sustainable alternatives and comply with the national and European regulations on plastic use.
  • In February 2024, Glow recipe, a popular brand known for its skincare products, introduced a refillable unit of its Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Oil-Free Moisturizer, the new packaging, as reported, is made with 95% post-consumer recycled plastic, which results in about 59% less carbon emissions and 51% less waste compared to its single-use counterparts.

The returnable packaging market research report includes in-depth coverage of the industry, with estimates & forecast in terms of revenue (USD Billion) and volume (Thousand units) from 2021 to 2032, for the following segments:

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Market, by Product Type

  • Containers & Totes
  • Pallets
  • Drums & Barrels
  • Intermediate Bulk Containers
  • Dunnage
  • Others (Bottles)

Market, by Material

  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Others (Glass, etc)

Market, by End Use

  • Automotive
  • Food & Beverages
  • Retail & Consumer Goods
  • Healthcare
  • Others

Market, by Distribution Channel

  • Direct sales
  • Indirect sales

The above information is provided for the following regions and countries:

  • North America
    • U.S.
    • Canada
  • Europe
    • Germany
    • UK
    • France
    • Italy
    • Spain
    • Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific
    • China
    • Japan
    • India
    • South Korea
    • Australia
    • Rest of Asia Pacific 
  • Latin America
    • Brazil
    • Mexico
    • Rest of Latin America
  • MEA
    • UAE
    • Saudi Arabia
    • South Africa
    • Rest of MEA


Authors: Avinash Singh, Sunita Singh

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) :

Market size for returnable packaging was valued at over USD 98 billion in 2022 and is anticipated to record a CAGR of over 6.5% between 2023 and 2032.

Plastic returnable packaging share was around 50% in 2022 and is expected to grow at a lucrative pace by 2032 as it offers cost savings compared to traditional single-use packaging.

Asia Pacific is the dominant region in the global returnable packaging industry and is expected to hold a share of over 30% from 2023 to 2032 driven by the rapidly growing e-commerce industry along with increasing internet & smartphone penetration.

Brambles Limited, CABKA Group, DS Smith Plc, IPL Plastics Inc, Loadhog Limited, Myers Industries, Inc., Nefab Group, ORBIS Corporation, Rehrig Pacific Company, Schutz GmbH & Co. KGaA, TriEnda Holdings LLC, George Utz Holding AG, Schoeller Allibert, Smurfit Kappa Group, PPS Packaging Company.

Returnable Packaging Market Scope

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Premium Report Details

  • Base Year: 2023
  • Companies covered: 20
  • Tables & Figures: 247
  • Countries covered: 21
  • Pages: 370
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