Bioplastics are used in an increasing number of markets – from packaging, catering products, consumer electronics, automotive, agriculture/horticulture, toys to textiles and a number of other segments.
Driven by a growing demand for sustainable solutions, the range of available bioplastics is multiplying continuously. Each day, new bioplastic materials, compounds and master batches are created and more and more production facilities go on-stream. Consequently the European market for bioplastics is growing at an annual rate of roughly 20 percent.
Driving market development
The factors driving market development are both internal and external.
External factors make bioplastics the attractive choice, as can be derived from the high consumer acceptance, the extensively publicised effects of climate change, drastic price increases of fossil materials, and the increasing dependence on fossil resources.
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 show that bioplastics can reduce CO2 emissions by 30-70 percent compared to conventional plastics (depending on material and application). What is more, the increasing utilisation of biomass in bioplastic applications has a clear advantage: renewability and availability. The limited crude oil reserves can be saved and additional crude oil imports from unstable regions can be reduced.
Within the industry, bioplastics simply make sense because of their advanced technical properties and functionality, the potential for cost reduction through economies of scale, and the new recycling option they represent.