The global biodegradable plastics market size is projected to reach USD 23.3 billion by 2026 growing at a CAGR of 24.9% from 2021 to 2026. The increasing demand for biodegradable plastics in various end-use segments coupled with stringent regulatory and sustainability mandates concerning healthcare safety is driving the market for biodegradable plastics.
Based on type, the biodegradable plastics market is classified into PLA, Starch blends, PHA, Biodegradable polyesters, and others. Biodegradable plastics are derived from renewable sources or are based on monomers derived from renewable sources such as corn, potato, rice, soy, sugarcane, wheat, and vegetable oil. Polylactic acid (PLA) is considered one of the most important biodegradable plastics due to its good mechanical properties and easy processability. The raw materials required to manufacture PLA is also easily available. Such factors make PLA the largest segment of the biodegradable plastics market, and it is expected to grow at a rapid rate. Growing concerns related to environmental pollution and non-renewable finite petroleum resources are leading to the increasing use of biodegradable plastics.
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Based on end user, packaging industry captures the larger part of market share in terms of volume and value during the forecast period, followed by textiles, consumer goods, agriculture & horticulture and other industries. The need for sustainable solutions has encompassed several industry verticals, including food & beverages, e-commerce, and FMCG. The new applications for biodegradable plastics in packagings such as diaper packaging, adult incontinence products, and landfill covers, are gaining momentum. With several innovative products coming up, the use of biodegradable plastics in packaging is expected to rise further during the forecast period. In addition, the rise in e-commerce have played an intense focus on increased packaging requirements.
Europe is estimated to lead the biodegradable plastics market, in terms of both value and volume, during the forecast period. Countries, such as France, Spain, and the UK, are witnessing an increase in the adoption of biodegradable plastics in the packaging & bags industry, which will, in turn, enhance the growth of the market. The growth in the region is attributed to the increase in population and rising adoption of biodegradable plastics products.
The increase in demand for biodegradable plastics and the growing industrial development in the emerging economies, such as APAC and South America, are driving the market. The key players in this market are BASF (Germany), NatureWorks (US), Total Corbion (Netherlands), Novamont (Italy), Biome Bioplastics (UK), Mitsubishi Chemical Holding Corporation (Japan), Toray Industries (Japan), Plantic Technologies (Australia), Danimer Scientific (US), and Fkur Kunstsoff (Germany). These players have adopted various strategies such as investment & expansion, merger & acquisition, partnership & agreement, and new product launch in order to strengthen their market position. For instance, in April 2021, NatureWorks announced a new strategic partnership with IMA Coffee, which is a market leader in coffee handling processing and packaging. This partnership aims at increasing the market reach for high-performing compostable K-cup in North America.
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BASF is one of the leading market players. The functional materials & solutions segment produces biodegradable plastics for various applications such as automotive manufacturing, packaging, sports & leisure, medical technology, construction, solar thermal energy, and photovoltaics. The company produces a fully synthetic biodegradable polyester. In addition, the company currently produces Ecoflex (PBAT), which is a synthetic biodegradable polyester. The company blends PLA with Ecoflex to produce Ecovio. It has adopted joint ventures as a key strategy to retain its competitiveness in the global market.
Novamont is one of the key players in the biodegradable plastics market. The company provides blends of starch, PCL, and others, including polyesters and oils. It has a dominant patent portfolio and produces PBS, PBSA, and PCL. Also, the company has additional offices and networks in Germany, France, Benelux, Scandinavia, Denmark, the UK, the US, China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.
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