GERMANY – Global bioplastics production capacity, predicted to pass the one million tonne mark already in 2011, will more than double from 2010 to 2015, according to European Bioplastics.
The estimates, based on a study by the industry association in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Hanover, indicate that the production capacity for bioplastics will increase to 1.7 million tonnes by 2015, from 2010’s figure of around 700,000 tonnes.
The first half of 2011 already shows production capacity exceeding 900,000 tonnes. The million tonne mark is close, and will likely be passed by the bioplastics industry within this year. "The encouraging trend in production capacity allows us to assume, that the figures presented today will even be exceeded in the coming years", said Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics.
A further change is evident in the composition of global production volume. In 2010, the bioplastics branch primarily produced biodegradable materials, totalling around 400,000 tonnes (compared to 300,000 tonnes of biobased commodity plastics). This ratio will be reversed in the coming years – despite overall growth.
Professor Dr. (Eng.) Hans-Josef Endres of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Hanover, explained, “Our market study shows that biobased commodity plastics, with a total of around one million tonnes, will make up the majority of production capacity in 2015. Biodegradable materials will, however, also grow substantially and will reach about 700,000 tonnes by then.”
The main reason for this rapid growth is the swift expansion of bioplastics into an ever-increasing number of applications - including packaging, car manufacture, toys, carpets and electronic Components – said European Bioplastics, which members produc, refine and distribute bioplastics – defined as plastics that are either bio-based, compostable, or both.
The association also noted that while Europe is the world’s largest and most interesting market for bioplastics and is also leading in research and development, the number of production facilities is growing most markedly in Asia and South America. Hence, the competitiveness of European industrial sites must be improved through better frameworks and regulations, said European Bioplastics, which challenged politicians to support the local bioplastics industry.