Production of oxo-biodegradable plastics and increasing demand for environment friendly packaging to aid expansion of the biodegradable plastics market

Posted On May, 06, 2016

Growing environmental concerns, increasing awareness of the economic & ecological viability of using biodegradable plastics coupled with favorable government initiatives have led to the growth of the global biodegradable plastics market.

The key drivers expected to boost the biodegradable plastics market are the utilization of bio-based raw material, the shift in consumer preference for eco-friendly packaging, and increased government initiatives & activities to promote the use of biodegradable plastics.

Decreased number of petroleum reserves and the increasing cost of petrochemicals is expected to encourage the production and demand of eco-friendly products which are not harmful to the environment. One of the major challenge encountered by manufacturers of biodegradable plastics is its high cost of production.

The biodegradable plastics market is segmented into polylactic acid (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). PLA biodegradable plastics is anticipated to account for the largest market share owing to its superior quality, ease of processing, and mechanical properties. This product segment is planned to register the most substantial growth over the coming years.

By application, the biodegradable plastics market segmentation includes packaging, bottle manufacturing, fibers, agriculture, and injection molding. Packaging and container production applications are expected to hold a larger market share as compared to other applications. The high production scale of packaging and container manufacturing coupled with the growing environmental concerns with regards to the disposal of these products is expected to drive the biodegradable market.

Injection molding segment is anticipated to witness the highest growth on account of surging environmental concerns over the toxicity of non-biodegradable molds. Increased research & development activities for the production of bio-based building blocks as a substitute for conventional chemicals is expected to fuel demand for greener alternatives. Companies such as BioAmber, DuPont Tate & Lyle, November, and Genomatica are working on the development of such bio-based blocks.

Biodegradable bioplastics such as Styrofoam, popcorn extruded trash plastic ware, and diapers are expected to drive the demand in this market.

Western Europe accounted for over 45% of the overall market share in 2015. Growing environmental awareness among the natives and implementation of strict guidelines and regulations are the primary drivers for the growth of biodegradable plastics market in the Western European region.

Imposition of tax on the use of petroleum-based plastics in countries such as Ireland and Germany and the ban on the use of such plastics in Italy is expected to drive the biodegradable plastics market in these countries.

Increasing investments in research & development (R&D) activities for greener alternative of plastics led to the innovation of oxo-biodegradable plastics which degrades completely. EPI’s TDPA (Total Degradable Plastic Additives) formulations used in the production of oxo-biodegradable catalyze the degradation reaction at a faster rate releasing carbon dioxide, water, and biomass which can be quickly biodegraded in the environment.

Oxo-biodegradable plastics are commonly used for lightweight carrier bags, packaging films, and disposable bags, and it is expected to witness growing interest in agricultural and horticultural applications.

Asia Pacific drives the demand for bioplastics on account of its large number of plant and animal feedstock. Increased agricultural use of oxo-biodegradable plastics in countries such as China, Japan, and Europe is expected to spur demand for oxo-biodegradable plastics over the forecast period.

An industry coalition, known as Oxo-Biodegradable Plastics Federation (OBPF), was formed in 2016 to promote awareness regarding oxo-biodegradable products as an alternative to conventional products. Companies undertake strategic initiatives and increasing CSR activities which are anticipated to boost the global biodegradable market growth.

Growing policy initiatives taken up by manufacturers of biodegradable plastics such as technological collaborations, agreements, new product developments are anticipated to augment the growth of the biodegradable plastics market. MHG, a biopolymer company, launched a product known as MHG NodaxTM PHA, that is produced by microbial fermentation of vegetable oil and it is known to biodegrade completely in any environment.

The key market players are Metabolix Inc. (U.S.), Corbion N.V. (Netherlands), Biome Technology PLC (U.K.), NatureWorks LLC (U.S.), Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (Japan), Novamont SPA, CorbionPurac, Cardia Bioplastics, Toray Industries Inc.

While other includes Evonik Industries, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, BioApply Polymers, Dow Plastics, Solvay SA, Techno-Polymer Company Limited, and RTP Company.

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