Biodegradable Plastics to Gain, Says Study

Cleveland, OH | Demand for biodegradable plastic in the US is expected to rise more than 15%/yr to 720 million lbs in 2012, valued at $845 million. This is the conclusion of a new study from The Freedonia Group.

Escalating crude oil prices have made biodegradable plastics, which are sourced from renewable resources such as corn, more cost competitive with petroleum-based conventional resin, the study notes. However, continued price declines are necessary for anticipated biodegradables growth, and rapidly rising prices for corn threaten the decline in biodegradable prices.

Demand for starch-based plastic will increase 16.8%/yr to 293 million lbs in 2012 due to improved resin blends and opportunities in areas that include compostable yard and kitchen bags. The study expects PLA demand to expand nearly 20%/yr, and good opportunities are expected for PLA in areas such as thermoformed food packaging and bedding and apparel fibers. Demand for polyester-based biodegradables will exhibit rapid annual growth of nearly 25% through 2012.

Packaging, which accounted for nearly three-quarters of all biodegradable plastic use in 2007, is expected to show the largest gains through 2012 due to good growth in areas such as foodservice products and film goods.

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