Sustainable packaging in Greater Manchester

Invest in UK sustainable packaging

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Join the packaging revolution

With the increasing need to use less plastic, the global sustainable packaging market is set to be worth 309 billion GBP by 2024. An above average 7% return on investment is predicted.

World class research in graphene innovation, sustainable consumption and advanced robotics, make the UK the place to design and commercialise packaging of the future.

In Greater Manchester you’ll find an innovation driven food and drink cluster. Here, companies benefit from access to market leading technology, materials and skills. They are playing a part in Manchester’s target to be carbon neutral by 2038.

Manchester cityscape at night.

The investment opportunity

  1. Reducing plastic waste

    The UK’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) aims to make 100% of plastic packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. Companies in Greater Manchester will be in a prime position to help make this happen.

  2. Research to drive innovation

    Research institutes and universities in Greater Manchester are designing innovative sustainable packaging. Here, companies can capitalise early on ideas that will shape the future.

    The Autonomous Systems and Advanced Robotics Research Centre is based at the University of Salford. The University of Manchester’s School of Materials is 1 of the largest in Europe.

  3. Low costs and local support

    Hello Manchester provides cheaper space, flexible leases, and introductory offers from legal and accounting firms. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority Core Business Fund offers loans and equity. These are between 0.5 and 5 million GBP for businesses creating jobs in the region.

    Local councils can provide recruitment and training, financing and potentially reduced business rates for investors.


Greater Manchester – a super centre for sustainable packaging

Located in the heart of the UK’s food and drink corridor, Greater Manchester is perfect for investing in sustainable packaging.

  • An established base
    • Three quarters of the world’s top 25 food companies are here.
    • A major food and drink cluster with over 700 companies, including McVities, Kellogg’s and Kraft Heinz.
    • Over 200 local companies offer expertise in packaging machinery and services.
  • Skills and research
    • Over 11,500 highly skilled workers employed in the packaging industry.
    • 4 leading universities create 3,160 industry ready graduates a year, specialising in chemistry, materials, science and engineering.
  • Access and logistics
    • London is just over 2 hours away by train.
    • Direct access to over 200 international destinations from Manchester Airport.
    • Connected to the global supply chain via the Manchester Ship Canal, Port Salford and the Port of Liverpool.

This opportunity is:

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    Cost competitive

    Costs of labour, industrial property and utilities are highly competitive in the UK.

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    Supported by government

    The UK’s visa system is investor friendly and the Department for International trade offers advice on skills, finance and more.

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    Supported locally

    Business networks and access to funding and academic institutions can help you get established and growing.

Greater Manchester has the supply chains, skills, research capacity and networks to ensure your success in the development of sustainable packaging solutions.

The area is highly supportive of companies developing products and services which help Manchester become carbon neutral by 2038.

Who’s already here

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  • Saica
  • TrackRap

Success snapshots



Bobst Manchester, part of Swiss multinational Bobst Group, is a leading supplier of vacuum roll coating and metallising equipment for the food packaging market.

Using the Manchester Metropolitan University’s expertise in surface characterisation techniques, Bobst developed a new commercially viable transparent packaging product.

Saica Group

Saica Group

A major European recycler, Spanish company Saica has its UK headquarters in Manchester. Its investment makes it the 3rd largest company in the UK to recycle paper into corrugated board.

At the Saica Flex innovation centre in Wigan, customers work with Saica to design packaging solutions using a circular manufacturing process.



Skelmersdale based TRAKRAP’s cold wrapping technology is revolutionising packaging of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG).

This sustainable packaging solution reduces energy consumption by around 90% and plastic film use by up to 70%. The potential market is huge with around 4,200 suitable production lines in the UK alone.