Bioplastics share of packaging sector to grow from 0.2% in 2013 to 2.4% by 2023

Driven by both biorenewability and biodegradability trends, the demand for bioplastics in packaging is expected to grow to about 9.45 million tonnes by 2023

This represents a global CAGR of 33%, according to a new study by Smithers Pira.

The Future of Bioplastics for Packaging to 2023 provides an in-depth look at this industry throughout the coming decade. Containing key details about end use markets, regional variance and supplier opportunities, the report also offers forecasts of technology development in this exciting area.

According to the report, worldwide consumption of all polymers is valued at more than $650 billion in 2013. In geographical terms, North American and European global shares are both slightly under 25% each, while Asia (including Japan) represents about 40% global share. The remaining 13% share is consumed in other regions. By 2023, the Asian share of global biopolymer demand is expected to increase to 34%, while both Europe and North America decline in share of global packaging demand for this type of material.

Figure E.3 Global bioplastics demand by region

Bioplastics in Packaging

Source: Smithers Pira

This general shift towards bioplastics is driven by both environmental concerns and the increasing costs for fossil fuel products. Growth is closely linked to the relative competitive prices for traditional polymers (petro-polymers) based on fossil fuel products such as oil, natural gas and derivatives. Therefore, bioplastic acceptance and growth in packaging are driven by the dynamics and economics of the fossil fuel industry on a global basis.

As biorenewable resources, including all forms of biomass, become an increasingly important raw material and energy source, biomass conversion refineries will broaden the technology and provide chemical feedstocks, some of which will be converted to biopolymers.

According to The Future of Bioplastics for Packaging to 2023, bioplastics are finding a new and welcoming audience in the packaging industry. This is driven by higher energy costs and new understandings about environmental sustainability. Indeed, biopolymers will find future success and grow in demand as society is increasingly forced to cope with higher energy costs and consumers recognise that a reduced carbon footprint is good for business and the environment.

The majority of biopolymer end-use has been in packaging and food service non-durable applications. Such applications are often designed for one-time use, and might ordinarily end up in landfill or floating in the ocean. For this reason, biodegradability was considered to be the most important driver. However, this has become less of a focus in recent years as it represents a too wasteful end-of-life option. According to the report, the focus is now on bio-based products that are considered sustainable and renewable through feedstocks that are grown, and end-products that are recycled.

The Future of Bioplastics for Packaging to 2023 is available to purchase online and receive immediately for £3950.

To find out more about the report and how your company can benefit from a global usage license, please contact: Heather Adams (US) T: +1 207 781 9632 or Bill Allen (UK) T: +44 (0)1372 802086.