The basic materials used in packaging are glass, metals (primarily aluminum and steel), an ever-growing range of plastics, paper and paperboard, wood, textiles for bags, and miscellaneous other materials (such as glues, inks, and other supplies). They are fabricated into rigid, semi-rigid, or flexible containers. The most common forms of these containers include cans, drums, bottles, cartons, boxes, bags, pouches, and wraps. Packaging products are, for the most part, low cost, bulky products that are manufactured close to their customers. There is virtually no import or export of packaging products. A material flow analysis can be developed that looks at all inputs to an industrial sector, inventories the losses in processing, and tracks the fate of the material after its useful life. An example is presented that identifies the material inputs to the packaging industry, and addresses the ultimate fate of the materials used. ?? 1996 International Association for Mathematical Geology.