News about the bioplastics industry

Global demand for biobased and biodegradable plastics will rise 19 percent per year to 960,000 metric tons in 2017

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imageWorld demand to skyrocket 19% annually through 2017

Global demand for biobased and biodegradable plastics will rise 19 percent per year to 960,000 metric tons in 2017. The bioplastics industry, while still in the emerging growth phase, has established itself as a fixture in a number of commercial markets and applications. Robust growth in demand is expected in virtually all geographic markets, driven by consumer preferences for sustainable materials, the increased adoption of bioplastics by plastic processors and compounders, and new product developments that expand the range of applications for bioplastics. However, despite the rapid rise in demand, bioplastics are still expected to account for less than one percent of the overall plastic resin market in 2022.

Biobased commodity resins to be fastest growing types

Starch-based resins and polylactic acid (PLA) will remain the leading bioplastic products through 2017, combining to account for over 60 percent of demand. For starch-based resins, advances will be bolstered by increased regulation of conventional plastic products, particularly plastic bags, as governments around the world continue to promote sustainability. PLA demand will benefit from the development of resins and compounds with enhanced performance attributes, suitable for more durable applications such as fibers, automotive parts, and electronic components.

The most rapid gains in demand, however, are expected for biobased commodity resins such as polyethylene and polypropylene, which are just beginning to enter the commercial market. The rapid adoption of these bioplastics will be fueled by their ability to be used as a “drop-in” for existing applications, as well as by an increased focus on biobased content rather than biodegradability as a desired attribute. By 2022, biobased polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is also expected to become available in commercial quantities and will begin to penetrate the beverage container market.

Western Europe to remain dominant regional market

Western Europe was the largest regional consumer of bioplastics in 2012, accounting for over half of global demand. The region will see strong gains through 2017 as well, bolstered by added regulations and incentives that favor bioplastics over conventional resins. North America will also register strong advances, with demand in the region expected to more than double, driven by rising consumption of PLA and biobased commodity resins. Advances in the Asia/Pacific region will be fueled by robust growth in China, which has become a major consumer of bioplastic resins used to manufacture goods for export.

Study coverage

This study analyzes the 408,000 metric ton world bioplastic industry. It presents historical demand data for 2002, 2007 and 2012, and forecasts for 2017 and 2022 by product (e.g., starch-based resins, polylactic acid, biobased polyethylene, polyester bioplastics, biobased polyamides), market (e.g., containers, packaging film, loose-fill packaging, nonpackaging bags, foodservice disposables, automotive and electronics, agriculture), world region, and for 17 countries.

The study also considers market environment factors, details industry structure, evaluates company market share and profiles 35 industry players, including NatureWorks, Arkema and Novamont.

Source: Freedonia Group

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