Biodegradable plastic is produced from renewable resources such as corn, potatoes, rice, soybeans, sugar cane, wheat, and vegetable oil. For example, polylactic acid (PLA) is a biodegradable plastic produced from starch, polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) is derived from microbial synthesis, and bio-based polyethylene (bioPE) is produced using sugar cane. Bio-based plastic helps reduce reliance on non-renewable materials such as petroleum-based products. It also helps reduce greenhouse gases by up to 35%.
Increased government initiatives on reducing greenhouse gas emissions are expected to propel market growth. For example, in October 2015, the Indian government announced to reduce the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions – the ratio of a country’s gross emissions to GDP – from 33% to 35% of its 2005 levels. by 2030. Additionally, in June 2019, the UK became the first key economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. The target will require the UK that it reduce all its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. The emissions should promote market growth.
The increasing launch of the new bio-based plastic by the leading manufacturer is expected to increase the market growth during the forecast period. For example, in June 2019, LyondellBasell and Neste announced the commercial scale production of a bio-based plastic derived from renewable materials. The companies say it is the first time that bio-based polypropylene and bio-based low-density polyethylene have been produced simultaneously on a commercial scale. Therefore, the increasing initiatives of key manufacturers to introduce bio-based plastic are expected to drive the growth of the biodegradable plastic market.
Europe dominated the global bio-based biodegradable plastics market in 2018, with a 48% volume share, followed by Asia-Pacific and North America respectively.
Figure 1: Global biodegradable biobased plastics market, volume share in 2018, by region
The growing demand for bio-based plastic from the food and beverage industry for food packaging is expected to provide huge growth opportunities in the market. For example, starch and PLA are major biodegradable polymers that are used in food and beverage packaging and they are bio-based without any harmful chemicals in the polymer. Hence, the increasing application of bio-based plastic in the packaging industry is expected to promote the growth of the market during the forecast period.
The rising research and development agenda to develop new bioplastics and promote sustainability is gaining ground in the market. For example, in October 2019, researchers at UPV / EHU-University of the Basque Country and Colorado State University (USA) developed an advanced new class of renewable and biodegradable plastics and scientists claim that these plastics are an improvement over existing plastics. and promote the circular economy. Hence, the growth of the research and development program through research is expected to fuel the growth of the market during the forecast period.
A new agreement, reached in late 2014, requires all EU member countries to implement policies associated with non-biodegradable plastics. Countries must either reduce plastic consumption by 90 lightweight bags per citizen by 2019 and 40 by 2025, or impose a fixed fee by 2018 for the use of conventional lightweight plastic bags.
The active players in the market are Natureworks, BASF SE, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, Biome Bioplastics., Toray Industries, Total Corbion PLA, Plantic Technologies, Danimer Scientific, Bio-On and Novamont SPA