Market Demand of Biodegradable Plastic Products to Grow
nova-Institute, Hürth, Germany, has published the first comprehensive market study on the consumption of biodegradable and compostable plastic products in Europe 2015 and 2020. The study compiles data on the following compostable or biodegradable polymer types: PLA, (Co-)Polyesters (PBAT, PBS(X)), PLA Copolyester Compounds, Starch-Copolyester Compounds, Others: PHA, compostable Cellophane films.
Compostable plastic bags, mainly used for shopping or biowaste collection, dominate the market for biodegradable plastic products in Europe. They make up about two thirds of the total market of 100,000 t (error range 90,000–110,000 t) of biodegradable plastic products sold in 2015. The market of compostable and biodegradable plastic products could grow to beyond 300,000 tonnes in 2020 – if the legal framework were to be set more favorably. The legal framework and composting infrastructure of EU member states were found to be either the bottleneck or the key driver for market development.
Several types of polyesters make up the core of the biodegradable polymer markets. Whereas PLA is used in its pure form, copolyesters are typically used in compounds. The sales of compostable and biodegradable plastic products (end products) reach around 100,000 t. PLA is used for a broad spectrum of applications, ranging from nonwoven fiber products or apparel, to beverage bottles and packaging foams. Starch-based materials are also pushing into new markets as, for example, coffee capsules or auxiliaries in aquaculture.
Disposable short-life products marketed as waste management solutions and made of compostable polyester-based films are today’s bestsellers. Thin-walled bags carrying goods or biowaste make up two thirds of the total consumption today and this share is expected to grow further until 2020. Also a variety of biobased PLA disposable tableware or packaging used for service and retail packaging goods are sold in significant volumes, driven by big event caterers and very active internet-based distributors reacting to convenience and street sale trends. Functional products such as barrier packaging or fiber products and many outdoor uses have a significant potential for market breakthrough. They could also provide the increased healthand safety-related benefits consumers are asking for in applications such as toys and other children’s goods.
Would you like to subscribe to our Newsletters on plastics technology and profit from the latest information?
Looking for a new challenge? Check out our jobs market!
Patents encourage innovation: Stay on the ball with the latest innovations in the plastics industry in our patents section.