Sustainable packaging Industry expected to grow at 4-6% and reach around 770-800 KT by 2024

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Metal Container Manufacturers’ Association (MCMA), India’s premium organization that represents the interests of companies involved in the production of metal containers/ packaging and allied components, envisages a key role for metal packaging (Prime & Non-prime Tin plate & Tin Free Steel) in future given the global focus on sustainable principles of reduce-reuse-recycle.  Tinplate demand is expected to grow at 4-6% and reach around 770-800 KT by 2024. Demand growth to be supported by robust growth in the processed food, dairy products, beverage, paints and aerosol segments.

Tin containers/cans – like any other metal products – are 100% recyclable and can form an important part of global strategy to ensure sustainability of the environment.  

The greatest strength of tinplate/Tin Free steel  is its incredible recyclability. It is also one of the most environmentally friendly packaging materials of all, which means that tinplate can be returned to the production cycle without loss of quality. In India about 60% of the tinplate is estimated to be recycled. This is because of the unorganized nature of the recycling industry. With a proper scrap collection and recycling mechanism in place, this share can be significantly increased to match global standards.

Looking at countries such as Germany, the material has consistently exceeded all required recycling rates for 10 years. As per ‘Recycling Week’ – June 2020 data in 2018 a whopping 90.4 percent of the tinplate used as packaging material in Germany was recycled – in Europe the figure was 82.5 percent.

Considering the market is already favouring the industry in terms of the demand but much is dependent on government policies as soon as it becomes favourable it will surely pin a promising future for the Indian metal packaging industry.

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The rapid growth of the market is primarily driven by the pharmaceuticals , edible oil,  foods and beverage industries. Huge investments in the food processing, personal care, and pharmaceuticals end-user industries are creating scope for expansion of the packaging market. The end-user of such product includes food, beverage, healthcare, cosmetics, personal care, and household care and industrial segment

Moreover, metal packaging also provides multiple packaging options for gifting of watches, high value products, etc. It offers semi-transparent packaging with tinplate for luxury items; also, the food processing industry is on the rise with requirements for tinplate containers for packing fruit juices, cut vegetables & fruits, meat products, fish, etc.

But the 10,000 crore Metal Packaging Industry has been under continued distress. While recently Metal Container Manufacturers’ Association (MCMA), India’s leading organization that represents the interests of companies involved in the production of metal containers, packaging and allied components, had received a three-month extension (on 17th April) from Ministry of Steel for the implementation of BIS notification, but it is not sufficient.

Neglecting the fact that Metal Packaging Industry and its recycling in India is a sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging option, the government is restricting the manufacturing of such products by imposing BIS.

Above and beyond in the current times Covid-19 is further creating more opportunities for packaging of food products for longer shelf life, as per retail association reports. The policy makers need to urgently look into this matter as sustainable packaging is the need of the hour and something that the industry can take advantage of the current demand and take leading position.

MCMA has urged the government to put on hold the implementation of Steel and steel products Quality Control Order dated 17th July, 2020 Norms. This order mandates BIS Certification on the major input required by the industry like tinplate and tin-free steel. It imposes restrictions on steel products like easy-open ends, peel off ends, which the industry imports from several foreign countries in variety of sizes.

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The association has also requested the ministry of steel to allow use of ISO certification materials in addition to BIS certified material. MCMA requested from the Ministry to allow the use of materials which are aligned to ISO. The same has been included in FSSAI order and also recommended by the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME).

In addition, there are a large number of products which are manufactured in Micro and small sector like Geometry Boxes, show boards, Mosquito coil stands, lantern, shoe polish container etc where the use of secondary tinplate is required and same is now not allowed to be imported due to imposition of Quality control order which needs to be withdrawn.