The global green packaging market was worth nearly $109 billion last year and is expected to reach nearly $178 billion by 2018, according to a recent market report.

Europe accounted for the highest share, worth a little more than $41 billion; North America was second with nearly $33 billion spent, according to Transparency Market Research's (www.transparencymarketresearch.com) report, "Green Packaging Market (Recycled, Reusable & Degradable): Global Scenario, Trends, Industry Analysis, Size, Share and Forecast, 2011-2018."

Europe is expected to continue its lead in the green packaging market, due to high regulatory barriers and less land for landfills, according to a news release.

The release also predicts North America, Japan and other developed countries will have a slow growth rate, while emerging countries such as India, China and Indonesia will experience the fastest growth. Reusable and degradable packaging is expected to see high growth rate in the Asia Pacific region from 2013 to 2018.

North America is "expected to witness slow growth in recycled packaging but high growth in reusable packaging due to high energy consumption and higher cost incurred in the production processes of recycled packaging.”

Some of the key factors pushing the move toward green packaging include growing awareness about carbon emissions, energy consumption and waste reduction targets.

Among the different packaging product types, recycled packaging accounts for the highest market share, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.9% from 2013 to 2018, according to the release.