Very interesting post summarising bioplastic market and development.
Development and marketing are surging as bioplastics categories expand to meet a worldwide demand that is growing exponentially.
Germany-based Helmut Kaiser Consultancy estimates that the global bioplastics market is growing at 20-30%/year, and will jump from 400m lb (203,000 tonnes) in 2006, to 10bn lb by 2015. A 2007 report from US-based BCC Research forecast the global bioplastics growth rate at 17%/year from 541m lb in 2007 to 1.2bn lb by 2012.
The meaning of bioplastics
The word "bioplastics" is no longer limited to biodegradable or compostable plastics made from natural materials such as corn or starch.
Bioplastics could also include petroleum-based plastics that are degradable; natural-based plastics that are not necessarily biodegradable; and plastics that contain both petroleum-based and plant-based materials, which could be biodegradable or not.
"The term bioplastics includes both biodegradability as a product property and the use of renewable raw materials. A bioplastic can be both, or one or the other," says Keith Edwards, biodegradable plastics business manager for BASF.
BASF sees biodegradability in the context of organics recycling (compostability) and diversion from landfills as a major market trend. The company estimates global bioplastic growth rates at more than 20% for several years.
"We expect new legislation for bioplastics around organics recycling in Canada and the US in the coming years," says Edwards. "These products are favorable in the packaging as well as in agriculture markets, offering physical properties similar to current materials with the added functionality of biodegradability."
The current generation of bioplastics predominantly lack heat resistance, impact resistance and barrier properties, says Dartee.