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Smithers Pira forecasts global bioplastic packaging market to reach $8.8 billion by 2024


The plastics industry is a major contributor to the global economy, providing foundational technologies and materials for all key segments. With a new emphasis on sustainability from leading packaging converters and food and beverage brands there is an increased demand and opportunities for bioplastics.

Smithers Pira’s latest market report, The Future of Bioplastics for Packaging to 2024 shows that the bioplastic for packaging applications will grow at an average annual rate of 16.2%,with market value more than doubling from $4.4 billion in 2019 to $8.8 billion in 2024, growing at an average annual rate of 15.0%. Bioplastics are rather recent additions to the portfolio of polymers available to manufacturers and users of packaging systems. Bioplastics’ share of plastics packaging markets is thus relatively modest, although forecast growth rates are very robustattractive.

With demand for these new materials within the global packaging markets, with all regions forecast to see double digit growth across the five years to 2024, The Future of Bioplastics for Packaging to 2024 identifies the following key trends driving the biopolymer industry today:

Plastics Recycling recycling - The state of the plastics recycling business environment may will have a profound impact upon the incentives and urgency for developing biopolymers solutions to plastics-related environmental problems.

Polymers from natural raw materials - Naturally occurring polymers, such as starch and cellulose, are usedwill see in significant extra demand for use in degradable plastics packaging applications.

Biodegradable aliphatic-aromatic polyester polymers – Aliphatic-aromatic polyester polymers usage in packaging will grow. Demand will rise generally and in particular be supported by moves to outlaw oxo-biodegradable plastics, such as the EU’s proposal of May 2019.

A key challenge will be boosting - especially heat resistance, barrier performance, and tensile strength-related characteristics – to allow these to directly replace the current suite of that are inferior to non-degradable polyesteroil based plastics, plastics such as PET and PBT.

Polymers synthesized by microorganisms: polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) – - PHA pPolyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) usage in packaging will also growth. While not generally biodegradable, the biologically manufactured PHAs display physical properties roughly comparable to conventional PET polyesters. Thus, there is keen interest and activity to perfect and commercialise PHA production- and applications-related technologies.

Polymers from bio-derived monomers - PLA polylactic acid, bio-PET, and bio-polyolefins are the primary packaging plastics synthesized from biologically produced monomers.

Biomonomers –There is considerable research and development interest in identifying and perfecting commercially viable routes to these and other important industrial chemicals through biochemical processes. Industrial interests in these “green chemicals” are wide-ranging, including keen interest in their potential applications within the realm of biopolymer materials for packaging. Polylactic acid (PLA), bio-PET, and bio-polyolefins are the primary packaging plastics synthesized from biologically produced monomers.

Fragmentation/physical degradation – It is likely that, longer term, debate will revive regarding the value and environmental usefulness of physical degradation/fragmentation as one of a portfolio of strategies for dealing with discarded plastic articles and other plastic waste issues.

Biotechnology companies - The forecast period of this report, through 2024, will be characterized characterised by continued ferment, with new technologies and companies springing up. Many will quickly disappear from technical deficiencies or unsustainable business models. A relative few will prosper and grow, and many of these will be acquired by established biopolymers firms or ultimately by the multinational chemicals and plastics giantsfirms.

Smithers Pira’s latest market report, ‘The Future of Bioplastics for Packaging to 2024’ presents a detailed analysis of the usage of important biopolymers in packaging applications, with forecasts to 2024 broken down by bioplastic type, packaging end-use and geographic regions.

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