GVR Report cover Returnable Packaging Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Returnable Packaging Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Material (Plastic, Metal), By Product (Pallets, IBCs), By End-use (Food & Beverage, Healthcare), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2022 - 2030

  • Report ID: GVR-4-68039-080-4
  • Number of Pages: 135
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)

Report Overview

The global returnable packaging market size was valued at USD 103.7 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.9% from 2022 to 2030. Increasing demand for sustainable and durable packaging products from various end-use industries is expected to drive the growth of the market. Returnable or reusable packaging products are made of durable materials, such as wood, plastic, and metal. They are designed to withstand rough handling throughout the supply chain and are intended for multiple trips. The initial investment for such products is considerably high as compared to expendable packaging; however, with increasing trips, a lower cost per trip can be achieved, which ensures a rapid return on investment.

U.S. returnable packaging market size, by product, 2020 - 2030 (USD Billion)

The U.S. market is expected to exhibit significant growth on account of increasing product demand from various end-use industries. Key food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, and automotive companies operating in the U.S. are increasingly incorporating sustainable business practices, which, in turn, is expected to augment the growth of the market for returnable packaging. Key companies are mainly attracted to returnable packaging products due to their sustainability, and economic and ergonomic benefits. Economic benefits mainly include low cost per trip in the longer term and a reduction in cost associated with the purchase and disposal of expendable packaging.

For instance, in April 2022, ORBIS Corporation showcased a variety of packaging solutions and services including reusable plastic pallets at MODEX show 2022, Booth B8419. These solutions are designed to introduce sustainability in reusable packaging solutions, find efficiency in supply chains, improve the flow of products, as well as to reduce overall packaging costs. Returnable packaging eliminates packaging waste going into landfills and thus is highly sustainable. Increasing adoption of sustainable packaging solutions by end-users to improve their brand reputation, coupled with rising regulatory pressure regarding the use of plastic packaging, is expected to fuel market growth.

However, higher transportation cost is observed in the case of RTP products due to their return trip. Moreover, these products occupy significant storage space and periodically require maintenance. In addition, theft or misplacement of products is also observed, further requiring the incorporation of tracking devices resulting in increased material handling costs. This may have a negative impact on product demand.

Material Insights 

Plastic led the market for returnable packaging and accounted for a revenue share of more than 63.4% in 2021. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Polypropylene (PP) plastics are typically used for manufacturing products, such as pallets, crates, IBCs, and drums, owing to their durability, and low weight, and strong corrosion and solvent resistance. Moreover, plastic-based RTP products incur minimal or no damage during the rough handling by forklifts and other material handling equipment owing to their high impact resistance. Besides, plastic-based RTP products offer strong weather and chemical resistance, which make them suitable for pharmaceutical and food applications.

The metal material segment is expected to witness the fastest growth from 2022 to 2030 on account of high strength coupled with a strong sustainability profile of metals as compared to plastic. However, the higher weight of metal-based products is expected to hinder the segment growth to some extent. The wood material is majorly used for making pallets. The low cost and wide availability of wooden pallets as compared to plastic pallets are the key factors responsible for their wide adoption. However, increasing demand for plastic-based pallets owing to their lower maintenance costs, ease of cleaning, and high durability and aesthetic appeal is expected to have an adverse effect on the wood material segment growth.

In November 2020, the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) and the Pallet Foundation presented an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) and life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for U.S. wooden pallets. This document is certified by UL and produced in collaboration with the research wing of the U.S. Forest Service named Forest Products Lab. This declaration also mentions the quantitative impact of the wooden pallets on the environment instead of having recyclable, reusable, and biodegradable qualities.

Product Insights 

The pallets product segment led the market for returnable packaging and accounted for a revenue share of more than 57.0% in 2021, on account of extensive utilization of pallets by multiple end-use industries ranging from food and beverages to petroleum and lubricants. The growing use of reusable pallets over one expendable pallet, as the former is sturdy and economically viable, is expected to boost segment growth. In September 2020, Orbis Corporation introduced a new40-by-48-inch Odyssey Pallet to its rackable plastics family of pallets. The new pallet is designed for use in heavy-duty racking applications to its suite of plastic pallet product offerings. The said pallet has a robust solution that helps in heavy loads and offers stability with unique design features, including molded-in frictional elements and optional steel reinforcements.

Dunnage provides 360-degree protection to individual units during shipping. Dunnage refers to an interior placed inside the container to facilitate the safe packaging of individual units. It is an effective packaging product for the transportation of fragile, high-value automotive, and electronic products. Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) are expected to register the highest CAGR from 2022 to 2030. The product is typically used to store and handle liquid and powdered products and finds extensive application in the food and beverage and pharmaceutical industries.

Increasing demand for effective and low-cost bulk liquid transportation products from various end-use industries is expected to contribute to the high growth of the product segment. Multiple types of returnable crates, including nestable, stackable, and collapsible, are utilized by agricultural, grocery, dairy, and bakery sectors for product distribution in a closed loop. Low weight, compact size, and availability in multiple sizes make them the preferred material for product handling.

End-use Insights 

The food and beverage end-use segment led the market for returnable packaging in 2021 and accounted for more than 34.5% of the global revenue share, owing to high product demand for the packaging of the dairy, bakery, agricultural, and meat, and processed and semi-processed food products. The expanding processed food products industry is further anticipated to increase product penetration within the food and beverage segment. Automotive manufacturers primarily use returnable packaging products for the transportation of their semi-finished and finished auto components, such as body parts, from the vendors to the assembly units. Frequent and short-distance transportation of heavy and high-volume auto parts generates demand for sturdy, effective, and durable packaging products, such as pallets, racks, and dunnage.

Global returnable packaging market share, by end-use, 2021 (%)

The steady expansion of the global automotive industry on account of the growing middle-class population, especially in the Asia Pacific region, is expected to have a positive impact on market growth over the forecast period. The healthcare end-use segment is expected to witness the fastest CAGR from 2022 to 2030. Increasing cases of chronic diseases and the growing aging population have been significantly driving the pharmaceutical industry, which, in turn, is expected to augment the product demand in pharmaceutical applications over the forecast period.

Regional Insights 

Asia Pacific led the returnable packaging market and accounted for over 36.6% of the global revenue share in 2021 and is projected to expand further at the fastest CAGR from 2022 to 2030. The presence of a large number of manufacturing companies in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam is the key factor driving the regional market. Furthermore, rapid industrialization in the Asia Pacific due to the low cost of manufacturing is expected to benefit market growth. Asia Pacific has been the hub for the manufacturing sector owing to the presence of countries that are involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).

Returnable Packaging Market Trends by Region

TPP is a free trade agreement and has strengthened the trade and manufacturing sector among countries, driving the demand for returnable packaging solutions over the years. The market for returnable packaging in the Middle East and Africa is expected to witness significant growth in the coming years owing to the shifting focus from the oil industry to the manufacturing industry. North America was the second-largest market in 2021 and is expected to grow at a significant CAGR from 2022 to 2030. Favorable trade agreements, such as the USMCA between U.S., Canada, and Mexico, are expected to boost manufacturing activities within the region, which is expected to drive the market for returnable packaging in North America.

Key Companies & Market Share Insights 

The market is moderately fragmented with the presence of large- and medium-sized companies. Companies are increasingly providing pallet renting programs to end-use companies, wherein, a pallet manufacturer delivers, tracks, and collect pallets. Such services allow the end-use companies to rent pallets instead of complete ownership, which helps them reduce the material handling cost. Key companies are trying to consolidate their market position primarily through merger and acquisition strategies. Besides, companies are rapidly incorporating tracking devices, such as RFID tags, to track the RTP products throughout their supply chain to minimize product losses. Some of the prominent players in the global returnable packaging market include:

  • Orbis Corporation

  • Nefab Group

  • Plastic Packaging Solutions Midlands & East Ltd.

  • Tri-Pack Plastics Ltd.

  • Amatech Inc.

  • CHEP

  • Celina Industries

  • UBEECO Packaging Solutions

  • RPR Inc.

  • Schoeller Allibert 

Returnable Packaging Market Report Scope 

Report Attribute


Market size value in 2022

USD 109.3 billion

Revenue forecast in 2030

USD 173.0 billion

Growth rate

CAGR of 5.9% from 2022 to 2030

Base year for estimation


Historical data

2017 - 2020

Forecast period

2022 - 2030

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD million and CAGR from 2022 to 2030

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends

Segments covered

Material, product, end-use, region

Regional scope

North America; Europe; Asia Pacific; Central & South America; Middle East & Africa

Country scope

U.S.; Canada; Mexico; Germany; U.K.; France; Italy; Spain; China; India; Japan; South Korea; Australia; Brazil; South Africa

Key companies profiled

CHEP;  Nefab Group; Celina Industries; Tri-Pack Plastics Ltd.; Amatech Inc.; Schoeller Allibert

Customization scope

Free report customization (equivalent up to 8 analyst working days) with purchase. Addition or alteration to country, regional, and segment scope.

Pricing and purchase options

Avail customized purchase options to meet your exact research needs. Explore purchase options


Global Returnable Packaging Market Segmentation

This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2030. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global returnable packaging market report based on material, product, end-use, and region:

Global Returnable Packaging Market Segmentation

  • Material Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2030)

    • Plastic

    • Metal

    • Wood

  • Product Outlook Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2030)

    • Pallets

    • Crates

    • IBCs

    • Drums & Barrels

    • Dunnage

    • Others

  • End-use Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2030)

    • Food & beverages

    • Automotive

    • Consumer durables

    • Healthcare

    • Others

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2030)

    • North America

      • U.S.

      • Canada

      • Mexico

    • Europe

      • Germany

      • U.K.

      • France

      • Italy

      • Spain

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

      • India

      • Japan

      • South Korea

      • Australia

    • Central & South America

      • Brazil

    • Middle East & Africa

      • South Africa

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