Global bioplastics production to increase from 1.7m tonnes in 2014 to 7.8m tonnes in 2019

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Global bioplastics production to increase to 7.8m tonnes in 2019

Related tags Biodegradable plastic Biodegradation Bioplastic

The global bioplastics production capacity is set to increase from around 1.7 million tonnes in 2014 to approximately 7.8 million tonnes in 2019, according to the European Bioplastics association.

The data presented at the 10th European Bioplastics Conference in Berlin was compiled in partnership with IfBB - Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites, and nova-Institute.

Biobased PE & biobased PET, main drivers of this growth

Biobased, non-biodegradable plastics, such as biobased PE and biobased PET, are the main drivers of this growth.

According to François de Bie, chairman, European Bioplastics, more than 60% of the bioplastics production capacity worldwide in 2014 was biobased, durable plastics. This will increase to over 80% in 2019.

Production capacities of biodegradable plastics, such as PLA, PHA, and starch blends, are also growing, nearly doubling from 0.7 million tonnes in 2014 to over 1.2 million tonnes in 2019.

PHA production will double by 2019 compared to 2014, due to a ramp-up of old and new capacities in Asia and the US.

The market is predicted to grow by more than 350% in the mid-term​,” said Bie.

"It seems compostable plastics are moving from niche to mainstream and many compostable plastics have found their true added value applications​.

The data illustrates an important trend to make packaging more resource efficient, which is driven by a growing consumer demand for products with a reduced environmental impact​.”

Packaging remains the single largest field of application for bioplastics with almost 70% (1.2 million tonnes) of the total bioplastics market.

More than 80% of bioplastics will be produced in Asia

Due to the excellent fit of bioplastics in the packaging market, this number is expected to increase to more than 80% (6.5 million tonnes) in 2019.

The data also shows an increase in the uptake of bioplastics materials in other sectors including textiles, automotive and consumer goods.

The land used to grow the renewable feedstock for the production of bioplastics amounted to approximately 0.68 million hectares in 2014, which accounted for 0.01% of the global agricultural area of 5 billion hectares, 97% of which were used for pasture, feed, food, other material uses, bioenergy, and biofuels.

In 2019, more than 80% of bioplastics will be produced in Asia. Europe will be left with less then 5% of the production capacities. Whereas countries such as the US, Asia, and Latin America are implementing close-to-market measures to attract production hubs and promote faster market development, the European market for bioplastics is limited by the lack of economic and policy measures to allow for a larger scale-up of production capacities within Europe.

Against this background, the implementation of a European policy framework that secures equal access to biobased resources, creates measures to facilitate market entry for biobased products, and accounts for the facilitating role of compostable plastics for efficient waste stream management, is of paramount importance​,” added Bie.

We urge EU legislators to consider and make efficient use of the immense environmental, economic growth and job creation potential of our industry in the forthcoming Circular Economy Package​.”

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