Consumer pressure and legislation increasing demand for biodegradable plastics by nearly 15% annually
According to a new IHS Chemical (NYSE: IHS) global market research report, mounting consumer pressure and legislation such as plastic bag bans and global warming initiatives will increase demand for biodegradable polymers (plastics) in North America, Europe and Asia from 269 thousand metric tons (KMT) in 2012 to nearly 525 KMT in 2017, representing an average annual growth rate of nearly 15% during the five-year period 2012-2017.
In terms of biodegradable polymer end-uses, it is estimated that the food packaging (including fast-food and beverage containers), dishes and cutlery markets are the largest end-uses and the major growth drivers. In both North America and Europe, these markets account for the largest uses and strong, double-digit growth is expected in the next several years. Foam packaging once dominated the market and continues to represent significant market share for biodegradable polymers, behind food packaging, dishes and cutlery. Compostable bags, as well as single-use carrier plastic bags, follow foam packaging in terms of volume.
In 2012, Europe was the dominant market for biodegradable polymers consuming 147 KMT or about 55% of world consumption. Landfill waste disposal and stringent legislation are key market drivers in Europe and include a packaging waste directive to set recovering and recycling targets, a number of plastic bag bans, and other collection and waste disposal laws to avoid landfill (Press Release HIS, 22 April 2013).