Bioplastics are a type of plastic manufactured from biomass sources such as vegetable oils and certain starches and are also called biobased plastic or biodegradable plastic. They are commonly used for insulation, as a packaging material, and in crockery and food packaging. Since bioplastics are plant based products, the consumption of petroleum for the production of plastic is expected to decrease by 10-15 percent by 2018. The bioplastic industry has high potential for growth if the focus is not just the replacement of current plastic applications but innovation of newer properties and newer applications as well.
Starch-based and PLA-based bioplastic classes have shown increased growth in the past years and form a major part of the bioplastic ingredient market segment. Other such bioplastics which show promising growth are cellulose-based, polyhydroxyalkanoates based, bio-polyamide based, and biopolyethylene based bioplastics. The market is dominated by the United States and Europe which are followed by Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World. The market is growing rapidly because more and more companies are entering this market with newer innovations and applications in automotive and electronics. Europe is a larger bioplastic market because of limited crude oil reserves. Bioplastics are segmented into a variety of applications including packaging, agriculture, food services, automotive consumer electronics, household appliances, and consumer goods. The applications responsible for higher market growth are in food and beverage packing, catering products, and bags.
Some of the major factors driving the bioplastic market are high consumer acceptance, high fossil fuel prices, increase in the dependence on fossil fuels, and the need for more eco-friendly products. Currently the demand for bioplastics is increasing due to its renewability and availability of raw material, advanced functionality and technical properties, and the recycling option that they present.
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Some of the major players competing in this market are Cargill's NatureWorks, Dupont, Braskem (BAK), Toray Industries, Lanxess AG, Bayer, BASF, and Eastman.