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Baby and toddler packaging: Recyclability takes charge amid paper and plastic innovations

#Baby and toddler packaging: Recyclability takes charge amid paper and plastic innovations

13 Mar 2024 — In the baby and toddler product sector, plastic remains the predominant material while overall environmental claims in new product development (NPD) are decreasing, with “recyclable” being the most common claim, according to Innova Market Insights

A spokesperson at the global market research company tells us that they observe an increase in usage for the following claims: “Less Packaging” has a CAGR of 30%, “Made from Recycled Materials” has a CAGR of 32% and “Bio-Based/Plant-Based Packaging” peaks with a CAGR of 80%. 

But environmental claims used in baby and toddler NPD are in a decline with a CAGR of 7.1%. 

“Scoping into environmental filters, we see that 71% of all baby and toddler NPD between 2019 and 2023 have had a ‘Recyclable’ claim, making it the most used environmental sustainability claim,” the spokesperson tells Packaging Insights.

Baby feeding bottle.Companies are increasingly developing recycled baby bottles (Image credit: Innova Market Insights).Increasing recyclability claims can be identified across recent product launches. Charlie Banana’s reusable cloth diapers are offered in fully recyclable packaging using FSC-certified paper, guaranteeing that all the paper packaging materials are responsibly sourced to ensure no net loss of forests over time.


The recyclable packaging replaced plastic components with paper solutions. Charlie Banana said it recognizes that using reusable diapers is still not an easy choice for busy parents. That is why the brand has created a reusable diapering system that helps parents reduce waste.

“At Charlie Banana, we always listen to parents and search for ways to improve our products. This year, we have switched most of our packaging to fully recyclable FSC-certified paper. Also, we are delighted about the new vibrant designs, and we hope parents will love them as much as we do,” said Andy Daly, CEO at Charlie Banana.

Recyclable bottles and pouches
Solvay, a global supplier of specialty materials, recently partnered with Hegen to create the “first” baby bottle made from recycled content.

Solvay’s Duradex material is made from polyphenyl sulfone (PPSU) and is used to manufacture a Press-to-Close, Twist-to-Open baby feeding bottle. The non-fossil feedstock content of the PPSU grade is third-party mass balance (MB) certified under the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification PLUS MB accounting regime.

“Hegen’s baby feeding and drinking bottles are widely acknowledged for their high quality and use the highest-purity materials to ensure a healthy and comfortable feeding experience for both mother and child. We are pleased to announce that the company has adopted our mass-balance certified PPSU for molding their iconic bottles,” said Guillaume Meunier, head of marketing, Life Solutions, at Solvay Materials.

Furthermore, Ella’s Kitchen stated that almost three-quarters (73%) of its baby food pouches would be fully recyclable at curbside by the end of 2024.
Baby powder in paper packaging.Companies are increasingly replacing plastic with paper solutions (Image credit: Innova Market Insights).

Innova Market Insights data shows baby care launches gained ground with 9% CAGR growth over the past five years. Europe (43%) was leading in shares for baby product launches. The Baby Wipe (47%) subcategory topped the product launches and remained an innovation frontrunner.

The “dermatologically tested claim” led the positionings for baby care products, but sustainable packaging influences took the lead in innovation with an 88% increase in launches over five years.

Plastic leads industry
Innova Market Insights highlights that from 2021 to 2022, Folded Box (21%) was the leading packaging format for baby & toddler launches. Meanwhile, Plastic (41%) was the leading packaging material for the tracked launches. The top environmental sustainability-related claim among global baby and toddler product launches tracked in 2021 and 2022 was “Recyclable” (53%).

Recently, Amcor partnered with organic yogurt maker Stonyfield Organic and spouted pouch packaging manufacturer Cheer Pack North America to launch a first-to-market all-PE spouted pouch.

The package removes the metalized or foil-based film layers commonly found in standard pouch structures while providing heat resistance for spout insertion. Including the Cheer Pack North America Vizi cap reduces the amount of plastic used by over five tons per 10 mm caps.

Innova Market Insights data indicates that in 2023, more than one in three global baby and toddler launches were packed in Flat Pouches, but product launches in Pot packaging registered a 176% growth rate from 2019 to 2023. Fifty-eight percent of these products were launched in plastic packaging and 26% of these launches had a recyclable packaging claim.

By Natalie Schwertheim

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