Most often, packaging materials used in the industry are paper, plastic, glass, metal and wood. Packaging varies greatly in size, shape and amounts used. In 2021, around 34 percent of the revenue generated in the industry was made up of paper packaging, followed by plastic. Both materials are encountered frequently at consumer level, to make one example. A purchase made online typically arrives in a cardboard box. The contents may be further encased in or enfolded by layers of paper or cellophane. This provides additional stability and protection. Plastic packaging material groups include foil, cups, jars, crates, as well as barrels and canisters. The majority of businesses in the industry dealt with paper and cardboard packaging.
In order to manage waste created by discarded packaging and minimize using natural resources for its production, a structured recycling system, supported by law, is intrinsically tied to packaging consumption. In fact, one of the things Germany is best known for abroad is its waste separating in order to facilitate proper recycling. Among private consumers in Germany, 6.5 million tons of packaging were collected in 2020. Recycling rates have remained high since 2010 at around 97 percent. While recycling options differ by federal state, city or even district, most households and business establishments can find a large recycling container for paper and cardboard nearby. Glass containers can also be recycled this way. In some cases consumers may also have access to a container for plastic packaging.