Marketers know that consumers want their vendors to be environmentally conscious and responsible. But there’s a big difference between claiming to be green and demonstrating the exact steps a marketer is taking to protect the environment. One growth area for marketers lately has been sustainable packaging. Worldwide, the market for sustainable packaging could be worth $142 billion by 2015.

Several research shops noted recently that the growth rate for sustainable packaging is higher than for traditional packaging. Currently, about 27% of the packaging used by U.S. retailers contains some sustainable materials. By 2015, nearly 37% of packaging could meet sustainable standards. Marketers in the cosmetics, personal care, food and beverage, shipping and healthcare sectors are most likely to use sustainable packaging.

As marketers look for sources of sustainable packaging, they often use recycled products. And almost 90% of the global demand for recycled material comes from the U.S.  Earlier this month, CPG giant Procter & Gamble said it will go a step further and use renewable resources in its packaging. The new high density polyethylene packaging will be manufactured from sugarcane. Products packaged in this new materials will include Pantene Pro-V, Covergirl, and Max Factor. The company is excited about the rollout which is planned for early  2011.  Jenny Rushmore, global sustainability director for P&G, says, “ [o]ur goal is to provide more environmentally-friendly products, but without sacrificing product performance or aesthetics, or paying more.” The new plastic packaging will be 100% recyclable.

P&G has already been promoting the steps it has taken with its Future Friendly-label products. The company wants consumers to understand its commitment to staying green. If more manufacturers follow P&G’s lead, campaigns promoting the use of sustainable packaging materials are likely to increase.

[Sources: Stones, Mike. Sustainable packaging market. CosmeticsDesign-europe.com. 19 Aug. 2010. Web. 26 Aug. 2010; Bird, Katie. P&G uses sugarcane-based plastic. Cosmeticsdesign-europe.com. 13 Aug. 2010. Web. 26 Aug. 2010; Alexander, Antoinette. P&G’s ‘green’ initiatives only the tip of the iceberg. DrugStoreNews. Aug. 2010. Web. 26 Aug. 2010]