Demand for biodegradable plastic in the US is projected to rise more than 15 percent annually to 720 million pounds in 2012, valued at $845 million. Although representing less than one-half of one percent of all thermoplastic resin demand in 2007, biodegradable plastic will have substantial growth opportunities. Escalating crude oil prices have made biodegradable plastics, which are sourced from renewable resources such as corn, more cost competitive with petroleum-based conventional resin. However, continued price declines are necessary for anticipated biodegradables growth, and among the threats to further declines in biodegradable prices are rapidly rising prices for corn. These and other trends are presented in Biodegradable Plastic, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.
Demand for starch-based plastic will increase 16.8 percent per year to 293 million pounds in 2012 as a result of improved resin blends and opportunities in such areas as compostable yard and kitchen bags, as well as foodservice items such as plates, bowls and cutlery. PLA demand will expand nearly 20 percent per annum due to capacity additions and broadened applications brought about by resin improvements, as well as greater processor familiarity. Good opportunities are expected for PLA in areas such as thermoformed food packaging and bedding and apparel fibers.
Demand for polyester-based biodegradables will exhibit rapid annual growth of nearly 25 percent through 2012. Gains will reflect significant capacity advances, a more competitive pricing structure and opportunities in film and fiber products, such as compostable yard bags and pallet wrap, as well as fibers for apparel and nonwoven
Packaging, which accounted for nearly three-quarters of all biodegradable plastic use in 2007, will present the largest gains through 2012 due to good growth in areas such as foodservice products and film goods. Fiber markets will exhibit rapid growth, mainly in bedding, apparel and nonwoven areas. Further fiber advances will be constrained by the entrenched position of traditional materials such as cotton. Other biodegradable plastic uses include carpet, coatings and injection and blow molded products.
Biodegradable Plastic (published 08/2008, 199 pages) is available for $4,600 from The Freedonia Group, Inc., 767 Beta Drive, Cleveland, OH 44143-2326. For further details, please contact Corinne Gangloff by phone 440.684.9600, fax 440.646.0484 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Information may also be obtained through www.freedoniagroup.com.
Source: Freedonia Group, press release, 2008-08-22.