High energy prices prompt fourfold rise in bioplastics demand

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bioplastics, Polylactic acid, Bioplastic, Europe

Global demand for bioplastics will rise more than fourfold to 900,000t by 2013 with a value of $2.6bn fuelled by high crude oil and natural gas prices, according to the latest report from market research group Freedonia.

Its report, World Bioplastics to 2013,​ predicts that high energy prices will allow bioplastics to become more cost-competitive with petroleum-based resins.

Other factors underpinning the rise will be consumer demand for more environmentally-sustainable products, the development of bio-based feedstocks for commodity plastic resins, and more controls on the use of nondegradable plastic products, particularly plastic bags.

Fastest growing sector

The fastest growing sector will be non-biodegradable plant-based plastics where demand will rise from 23,000t last year to nearly 600,000t in 2013.

Last year, biodegradable plastics, such as starch-based resins, polylactic acid (PLA) and degradable polyesters, accounted for nearly 90 percent of total bioplastics demand. In this sector, double-digit gains are expected to continue driven partly by the commercialization of polyhydroxy-alkanoates (PHAs).

PLA demand is also predicted to rise significantly as new production capacity comes online. This will cut the price of resin and improve its availability, said the report.

The largest market for bioplastics is Western Europe which accounts for about 40 per cent of global demand. High rates of consumption are driven by strong consumer demand for biodegradable and plant-based products, a regulatory environment that favours bioplastics over petroleum resins, and widespread composting infrastructure.

But, by 2013, the world’s biggest bioplastics consumer will be become Asia/Pacific region. Demand in Japan will be particularly strong reflecting its focus on replacing petroleum-based plastics.

Eastern Europe

Latin America and Eastern Europe are expected to show big gains in bioplastics demand from a small base last year.

At present, world bioplastics production is concentrated in the developed countries of North America, Western Europe and Japan. But within the next four years Brazil will become the world’s leading producer. Over the same period China plans to open more than 100,000t of new bioplastics capacity.

The report, World Bioplastics to 2013,​ is available from Freedonia; contact

Its report, World Bioplastics to 2013,​ predicts that high energy prices will allow bioplastics to become more cost-competitive with petroleum-based resins.

Other factors underpinning the rise will be consumer demand for more environmentally-sustainable products, the development of bio-based feedstocks for commodity plastic resins, and more controls on the use of nondegradable plastic products, particularly plastic bags.

Fastest growing sector

The fastest growing sector will be non-biodegradable plant-based plastics where demand will rise from 23,000t last year to nearly 600,000t in 2013.

Last year, biodegradable plastics, such as starch-based resins, polylactic acid (PLA) and degradable polyesters, accounted for nearly 90 percent of total bioplastics demand. In this sector, double-digit gains are expected to continue driven partly by the commercialization of polyhydroxy-alkanoates (PHAs).

PLA demand is also predicted to rise significantly as new production capacity comes online. This will cut the price of resin and improve its availability, said the report.

The largest market for bioplastics is Western Europe which accounts for about 40 per cent of global demand. High rates of consumption are driven by strong consumer demand for biodegradable and plant-based products, a regulatory environment that favours bioplastics over petroleum resins, and widespread composting infrastructure.

But, by 2013, the world’s biggest bioplastics consumer will be become Asia/Pacific region. Demand in Japan will be particularly strong reflecting its focus on replacing petroleum-based plastics.

Eastern Europe

Latin America and Eastern Europe are expected to show big gains in bioplastics demand from a small base last year.

At present, world bioplastics production is concentrated in the developed countries of North America, Western Europe and Japan. But within the next four years Brazil will become the world’s leading producer. Over the same period China plans to open more than 100,000t of new bioplastics capacity.

The report, World Bioplastics to 2013,​ is available from Freedonia​.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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