Bioplastics are used in an increasing number of markets – from packaging, catering products, consumer electronics, automotive, agriculture/horticulture and toys to textiles and a number of other segments.
Growing demand for more sustainable solutions is reflected in growing production capacities of bioplastics: in 2013 production capacities amounted to 1.6 million tonnes. Market data of European Bioplastics forecasts production capacities will multiply by 2018 – to approximately 6.7 million tonnes.1
New bioplastic materials, compounds and master batches are being created daily and an increasing number of production facilities are coming on-stream.
The factors driving market development are both internal and external.
External factors make bioplastics the attractive choice. This is reflected in the high rate of consumer demand and acceptance. The effects of climate change and the increasing dependence on and price increases of fossil resources also contribute to higher demand for bioplastic alternatives.
Bioplastics are efficient and technologically mature materials. They are able to improve the balance between the environmental benefits and the environmental impact of plastics. Life cycle analyses demonstrate that bioplastics can significantly reduce CO2 emissions compared to conventional plastics (depending on the material and application). The increasing utilisation of biomass in bioplastic applications has two clear advantages: renewability and availability.
1 European Bioplastics, Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites, nova-Institute (2014) More information: www.bio-based.eu/markets and www.downloads.ifbb-hannover.de More bioplastic statistics »here.