The global L-lactide market was valued at US$ 781.81 Mn in 2017 and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 14.1% from 2018 to 2026, according to a new report titled ‘L-lactide Market: Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth Trends, and Forecast, 2018–2026,’ published by Transparency Market Research (TMR).
The main driver behind this growth is the rising demand for bioplastics. Polylactic acid – PLA – is a commonly used bioplastics that is derived from L-lactide. Around the globe, consumers are increasingly indicating a preference for biodegradable materials as their awareness grows about the environmental impact of the use of fossil-based materials.
North America accounts for a major share of the global L-lactide market.
The properties of L-lactide, such as sustainability, its barrier properties and appearance, make it ideal for use in packaging applications. Stringent regulations on plastic consumption in developed regions such as North America and Europe are expected to have a positive influence on the expansion of the L-lactide market.
Next to packaging, another area that is likely to stimulate the growth of the global L-lactide market is that of bio-medical applications.
Demand for L-lactide from various medical fields, such as controlled drug delivery systems, tissue regeneration, and medical implants, is on the rise owing to the favourable biocompatibility and the mechanical properties of the material. L-lactide is finding increasing use in biomedical applications such as orthopaedics, drug carriers, facial fracture repair, tissue engineering, and uteral stents, which is expected to add to the growth potential of the L-lactide market. The emergence of nanotechnology and material science using biomaterials has prompted researchers and manufacturers of medical devices to come up with advanced technologies using L-lactide.
L-Lactides are also increasingly being applied in soil retention sheeting, agricultural films, and waste bags. Agricultural mulches, seeding strips, and tapes can today be made from PLA. Mulches help reduce evaporation and conserve moisture, increase soil temperature, and keep weeds under control. The successful replacement of petroleum-based materials will offer new value added markets for agricultural commodities and reduce the dependence on foreign crude oil and gas.
The global L-lactide market is dominated by the food & beverage packaging segment. L-lactides have been used as packaging materials in the last few years, mainly as containers for dairy, bakery, and fresh food products. Food containers, bags and cups, disposable serviceware and utensils, lamination or coatings for paper and paperboard, foam products for trays, and other packaging materials and films manufactured using L-lactide are gaining popularity due to the favourable material properties and superior performance of the material. However, the low heat distortion temperature of L-lactide restricts its use to ambient temperatures.
In terms of consumption, North America accounted for a major share of the global L-lactide market in 2017. Implementation of favourable government policies and regulations on plastic consumption have propelled the expansion of the L-lactide market in developed countries. The federal government aims to drive demand for bio-based products through procurement programs. Increased consumer preference for biodegradable materials and rise in environmental concerns are anticipated to drive the L-lactide market in North America.