Biopolymers are conquering more and more areas of application and achieving significantly higher growth rates than conventional standard plastics. Ceresana has investigated the dynamically growing global market for "green" polymers for the sixth time: Analysts expect sales of bioplastics to rise to around $8.1 billion by 2030. Biobased and biodegradable plastics In this study, the two groups of materials are referred to as "bioplastics"; they can overlap, but do not always have to be the same:
- Biodegradable plastics that can be decomposed in the wild or at least composted in factories,
- Biobased plastics made from renewable raw materials. Some bioplastics meet both conditions: For example, PLA from polylactic acid, PHA from sugar, and TPS from starch are biobased and biodegradable. However, there are also some plastics made from non-compostable biological raw materials (for example, PEF from fructose or biological PE based on sugar cane). On the other hand, some petrochemical plastics produced from petroleum or natural gas are biodegradable (for example PCL, PBAT, PBS). As long as bio-based plastics have the same chemical structure as their fossil counterparts, they can be recycled. In this study, fiber-reinforced plastics based on fossil fuels, elastomers, thermosets and wood-plastic composites (WPC) were not considered.
The key role of the EU circular economy Plastics and packaging are the core product groups of the "Circular Economy Action Plan" published by the European Commission in spring 2020 as part of the "Green Agreement". To overcome the throwaway society and reduce waste generation, the European Commission plans to levy plastic taxes, restrict microplastics and promote plastic recycling. By the end of 2021, the new "Framework Law for Bio-based, Biodegradable and Compostable Plastics" should clearly regulate and define the meaning of these terms and the disposal of bioplastics. Life cycle assessments should avoid green bleaching: For example, biobased plastics should only be used if they have a real environmental advantage over fossil plastics and do not compete with food production.
Biggest increase within polylactic acids and starch.
Biodegradable plastics, exemplified by polylactic acids (PLA) and starch polymers, reached a 65% share of the complete bioplastics market in 2020. For that product line, Ceresana expects further volume growth of 10.2% per annum through 2030. For biobased plastics, for example, polyethylene, PET or PA, which are not biodegradable, the growth is expected to be lower at 7.5% per annum. Ceresana's current market report analyzes how the use of bioplastics is evolving in different markets. The most important sales sector for bioplastics in the anno 2020 was the packaging industry - more than 58% of all bioplastics were processed here. Ceresana expects the highest growth of 11.1% per annum in the bags, sacks and pouches sector.
The survey in the near future:
Chapter 1 of the study offers an extensive presentation and assessment of the global sales market for bioplastics - including forecasts up to 2030: for each region, the trend of consumption (tons), sales (dollars and euros) as well as production (tons) is presented. In addition, the application areas of bioplastics are analyzed separately: rigid packaging, flexible packaging (bags, sacks, pouches and other packaging), consumer goods, passenger cars and electronics, other applications.
For the areas Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific and "Rest of the World" the production of bioplastics is divided into the product groups: PLA, intensity, other biodegradable and non-biodegradable plastics. The consumption of bioplastics by region is broken down into:
- Polylactic acid (PLA)
- Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)
- Polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT)
- Other biodegradable plastics
- Bio-polyethylene (PE)
- Other non-biodegradable plastics
In Chapter 2, the 8 most substantial sales countries are considered separately: Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain, USA, China, and Japan. Presented meanwhile are respectively: Consumption and sales, the demand for the independent application areas and the demand per product type (PLA, starch-based, other biodegradable plastics, non-biodegradable biobased plastics).
Chapter 3 offers company profiles of the most essential producers of bioplastics, organized by contact details, sales, profit, product range, production sites and brief profile. Detailed profiles are provided by 91 producers, e.g. BASF SE, Braskem S.A., Far Eastern New Century Corporation (FENC), NatureWorks LLC, Novamont S.p.A., Rodenburg Biopolymers B.V., Solvay SA, Teijin Limited and Vegeplast S.A.S.