The global market for biodegradable polymers increased from 409 million pounds in 2006 to an estimated 541 by the end of 2007. It should reach an estimated 1,203 million pounds by 2012, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.3%.
Growth rates are very high because of intense interest plus the fact that the base volumes of biodegradable polymers are still relatively low compared to petrochemical-based variants.
The "average" growth rate for loose-fill packaging is mainly attributable to two factors: lack of an effective infrastructure for disposal, and the popularity of air-filled plastics and other materials for cushioning in packages.
Although biodegradable polymers have been commercial for well over 20 years, this niche market is beset with a variety of roadblocks led by high prices, lack of an industrial infrastructure in the United States, and a strong global legislative mandate to try to increase the usage of these materials.
New biodegradable polymers are being introduced, accompanied by a continuing withdrawal of other products, along with key companies entering and leaving this market. New technologies, tightening environmental restraints, unprecedented increases in pricing of petroleum-based resins, and unstable pricing of a barrel of oil, are among other issues which necessitate a realistic appraisal of the impact of these polymers over the next five years.
SCOPE OF STUDY
This report contains:
- Descriptions of various biodegradable polymer applications including compost bags, loose-fill packaging, medical/hygiene products, agricultural and paper coatings
- The current market status of biodegradable polymers, trends and forecasts for growth over the next 5 years
- Discussion of the major drivers for the U.S. market including mandated legislation and prospective increases in landfill pricing
- Analysis of the biodegradable polymers market on a worldwide basis, both from a market and application perspective
- Information on the major global biodegradable polymer players including NatureWorks LLC, Tellis, Inc. and Novamont.
Following a detailed analysis of available information which included trade literature, articles and technical/marketing presentations and papers, and company literature, interviews were conducted with key producers, marketers, and trade associations in order to realistically assess market size, growth rates, company involvement and other important factors impacting the market.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Research analyst Mel Schlechter has over 40 years in the chemical industry, and specializes in plastics market research. He has been with BCC Research for over 10 years and holds a B.S. in chemistry, M.S. in organic chemistry and a M.B.A. in marketing.