GLOBAL - The bioplastics market is predicted to grow from around 1.4 million tonnes in annual production capacity in 2012 to approximately 6.2 million tonnes in 2017.
Even then, according to industry association European Bioplastics, the actual land used for sourcing renewable feedstock for bioplastics will amount only to approximately 0.02% of the global agricultural area.
This is the conclusion of the latest market forecast which the industry association European Bioplastics publishes annually in cooperation with the Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover in Germany.
“Our market data update once more affirms above average growth in the bioplastics industry around the world“, said François de Bie, Chairman of the Board of European Bioplastics. “Continuous growth can be expected with regard to all bioplastic material types and in a range of very diverse market segments – from packaging to fibres to consumer electronics.”
By far the strongest gain is expected in the biobased, non-biodegradable bioplastics group. Biobased versions of bulk plastics like PE and PET (biobased monoethylene glycol (MEG) accounts for about 30% of the PET equation, with PTA making up the remaining 70%) in particular are significantly increasing capacities. These so-called ‘drop-in’ solutions differ from their conventional counterparts only in terms of their renewable raw material base.
Biodegradable plastics, which e.g. support biowaste collection and thereby increase waste stream efficiency, are also demonstrating impressive growth rates, according to the report, with their production capacity expected to gain around 60% by 2017.
The packaging market will remain the leading segment for bioplastics applications. Bottles will take up the largest proportion of bioplastics at 3.817 million tonnes, followed by other types of packaging such as carrier bags at 1.152 million tonnes.
Regional bioplastics development beyond the West
European Bioplastics’ current data shows that Europe and North America remain interesting as locations for research and development and also important as sales markets. However, the establishment of new production capacities is favoured in South America and Asia.
Asia is to remain the world’s largest bioplastics producer, with the region projected to hold 45.8% of the world’s 6.2 million tonnes annual bioplastics production capacity in 2017, up from 2012’s 36.2%.
This is followed by South America with 44% annual production capacity in 2017, Europe 6.8% and North America 3.4%.