News Room

Food, Beverage and Consumer Products Companies to Eliminate Four Billion Pounds of Packaging by 2020

GMA Press Contact

Roger Lowe

office: 202-295-3954

WASHINGTON, DC – The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) today announced the results of survey research indicating that food, beverage and consumer products manufacturers anticipate that they will eliminate four billion pounds of packaging waste nationwide from 2005-2020. More than 1.5 billion pounds have already been avoided since 2005, and another 2.5 billion pounds are expected to be avoided by 2020.  The four billion pounds represents a 19 percent reduction of reporting companies’ total average U.S. packaging weight.

“Across the board, the food, beverage and consumer products industry has been vigilant in its efforts to reduce its environmental footprint,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of GMA. “When it comes to eliminating packaging from the supply chain, we have already made significant progress, but we know we can do more.  We look forward to meeting this goal to eliminate four billion pounds of packaging by 2020.”

The 1.5 billion pounds of packaging avoided since 2005 includes more than 800 million pounds of plastic and more than 500 million pounds of paper.  Packaging improvements have spanned most product categories, with no single category dominating.  Companies reported that they achieved the 2005-2010 reductions through the success of more than 180 distinct improvement initiatives that included package redesigns and increased use of recyclable inputs.

“In eliminating this packaging from the supply chain, we are reducing a significant volume of waste that would otherwise end up in landfills, but the benefits go far beyond that.  Companies are reporting that packaging improvements are also enabling them to ship more units per truckload, reduce green house gas emissions and conserve resources such as water and energy,” noted GMA Senior Director, Energy and Environmental Policy John Shanahan, who will discuss the research findings later today at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Sustainable Packaging Symposium in Chicago, Illinois.

The greenhouse gas emissions avoided by a four billion pound packaging reduction have the equivalent impact of removing 815,000 cars from the road or 363,000 homes from the energy grid for one year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator.

The report is based on the findings of two surveys conducted for GMA by McKinsey & Company and Georgetown Economic Services. Download the report here.


Based in Washington, D.C., the Grocery Manufacturers Association is the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies that sustain and enhance the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe.

Founded in 1908, GMA is an active, vocal advocate for its member companies and a trusted source of information about the industry and the products consumers rely on and enjoy every day.  The association and its member companies are committed to meeting the needs of consumers through product innovation, responsible business practices and effective public policy solutions developed through a genuine partnership with policymakers and other stakeholders. 

In keeping with its founding principles, GMA helps its members produce safe products through a strong and ongoing commitment to scientific research, testing and evaluation and to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.  The food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry in the United States generates sales of $2.1 trillion annually, employs 14 million workers and contributes $1 trillion in added value to the economy every year.