The global biodegradable mulch films market was worth USD 33.5 million in 2015. Increasing demand in green house application coupled with rising environmental concerns towards synthetic counter parts is anticipated to drive the market growth over the next eight years. Growing population coupled with a shrinking agricultural land owing to urbanization and industrialization have forced farmers to increase productivity in the same land holding. Various advantages offered by these films such as lower environmental impact, enhancing crop yield by inhibiting weed growth, maintaining soil moisture levels and the temperature is expected to drive the market growth over the forecast period.
Favorable government regulations regarding eco-friendly products, especially in Europe and North America is anticipated to impact market growth positively over the foreseeable future.Rising concern regarding plastic mulch residues in soil is expected to increase product penetration over the next eight years. Biodegradable films can provide benefits of plastic mulch, and eliminate the need for removal & disposal, and alleviate the negative environmental impact.
Mulch films that are currently available in the market are not entirely biobased and contain over 10% synthetic ingredients. In addition, concerns regarding biodegradable mulches not achieving 90% biodegradation within two years of tillage into the soil is anticipated to effect the market growth negatively in near future. Owing to the aforementioned factor, currently available biodegradable mulch films are not allowed in certified organic systems in the U.S.
Growing R&D to create new biobased formulas is anticipated to create immense opportunities for the market over the foreseeable future. Rising biodegradable mulch demand is projected to lower product costs and become competitive with polyethylene counterparts over the forecast period.
U.S.biodegradable mulch films market revenue, by raw material, 2014 - 2024 (USD Thousand)
Raw Material Insights
Thermoplastic starch (TPS) was the leading raw material segment in 2015 and is anticipated to witness the fastest growth, at a CAGR of 7.7% from 2016 to 2024.This high demand may be attributed to low cost and wide starch availability.TPS mulch films have gained popularity owing to starch being an abundant and inexpensive natural polymer that can produce a film structure.
TPS degrades into harmless products when it is placed in soil. Growing environmental concerns regarding conventional synthetic polymers use in the production of mulch films have shifted the focus towards biodegradable materials made from renewable resources. The aforementioned factors are anticipated to raise thermoplastic starch demand in biodegradable mulch film production.
Biofilms manufactured from starch blended with polylactic acid (PLA) are expected to witness high growth, at a CAGR of 7.6% from 2016 to 2024. The development of a truly degradable mulching film is expected to reduce disposal and labor costs for agricultural producers. The PLA/starch polymeric blend utilizes 99% biobased materials and is anticipated to replace petroleum-derived polyethylene mulch films over the forecast period.
Crop Type Insights
Fruits & vegetables were the major crop type segment and accounted for 51.05% of the global biodegradable mulch film demand in 2015. This segment is anticipated to witness the fastest growth at an estimated CAGR of 7.8% from 2016 to 2024. The high demand for fruits & vegetables may be attributed to the ease of application owing to the perennial nature of crops. Biodegradable mulch films reduce fruit rot by preventing contact between fruit & soil and improve the product quality.
Biofilms demand for grain and oil seeds is anticipated to witness above average growth over the next seven years and is expected to reach USD 20.3 million by 2024. Growing grain and oilseed production, particularly in Asia Pacific region, is anticipated to raise biofilms demand over the next eight years.
Asia Pacific dominated the global biodegradable mulch films market and accounted for 64.1% of the total demand in 2015. China was the leading biofilms consumer in 2015 owing to growing industrialization and urbanizationthat has led to higher living standards and rise in demand for food products. Growing food demand in the country may be attributed to the high market growth.
Biodegradable mulch film demand in Europe was worth USD 5.33 million in 2015. Europe is anticipated to witness moderate growth in near future owing to increasing adoption of eco-friendly products. These mulch films do not require waste disposal, and represent a sustainable mulching alternative and have wide acceptance in the region.
The Middle East & Africa is estimated to witness average growth over the forecast period. Growing technological advancementscoupled with implementation of horticulture techniques to enhance crop yield is anticipated to raise product demand in countries including South Africa.
Global biodegradable mulch films market is competitive and diversified owing to the presence of numerous regional and small-scale players, particularly in China. Key companies operating in the industry include Al-Pack Enterprises Ltd, Kingfa Sci & Tech Co Ltd, BioBag International AS, AEP Industries Inc, RKW SE, BASF, Armando Alvarez, Novamont, British Polythene Industries PLC, and Ab Rani PlastOy.
Major companies have been adopting various strategies such as mergers & acquisitions, capacity expansions, joint ventures and new product development to increase market share.
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