Transparency Market Research has published a new market study on the global biodegradable plastics market for the 2015-2023 period. According to the report, the said market will reach a valuation of US$17.6 bn by 2023, increasing from US$7.6 bn in 2014 at a healthy CAGR of 9.9% therein. The report is titled “Biodegradable Plastics - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015 - 2023” and is available for sale on the company’s website.
Biodegradable plastics are plastics that can be broken down into water, carbon dioxide, and other biomaterials by the action of microorganisms. Biodegradable plastics are not necessarily made of biomaterials such as plants and are sometimes manufactured from oil, which is also what conventional plastics are composed of. In the manufacture of biodegradable plastics, polylactic acid, polybutylene succinate (PBS), starch, polyhydroxyalkanoates, polycaprolactone (PCL), and regenerated cellulose are used as intermediate raw materials. The process involves fermentation of sugar into polylactic acid or polyhydroxyalkanoates, which is further converted into biodegradable plastics. The conversion process requires suitable environmental conditions and optimum temperatures for the process to take place.
The report states that biodegradability is the foremost reason driving the biodegradable plastics market presently and in the future. With increasing consumer awareness about eco-friendly products and strict regulations in place for curbing the use of nonbiodegradable products, the biodegradable plastics market is growing rapidly. However, this market is challenged by certain growth impediments as well. The high manufacturing cost of biodegradable plastics is a major challenge leading to low utilization. The manufacturing cost of biodegradable plastics is six times that of conventional plastics, resulting in low utilization of the former in developing countries.
On the basis of product, polylactic-acid-based products are dominant in this market. The product segment held the largest share in this market in 2014. Polylactic acid plastics are mainly used in packaging and agricultural applications. Produced by the fermentation of biobased feedstock such as corn starch and maize starch, these plastics exhibit high mechanical strength, low toxicity, and high aesthetic value.
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Packaging, agriculture, textile, injection molding, and others (medical, electronic, etc.) are the main application segments of the biodegradable plastics market. Amongst all, the packaging segment dominated the market in 2014. Packaging includes food packaging, industrial packaging, and beverage packaging. Agriculture stood as the second largest segment of the market in 2014.
The global biodegradable plastics market is segmented into the regions of North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Region-wise, in 2014, Europe dominated the global market for biodegradable plastics due to the prevalence of legislative directives and high consumer preference for eco-friendly products. However, Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing regional market for biodegradable plastics during the forecast period.
Top companies that operate in this market are BASF SE, Biome Bioplastics, Nature Works LLC, Plantic, BIO-ON, Corbion, FKuR, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, and Natur-Tec India Private Limited.
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