Biodegradable Polymers

Published - Dec 2005| Analyst - Melvin Schlechter| Code - PLS025B
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Report Highlights

  • The global market for biodegradable polymers exceeds 114 million pounds and is expected to rise at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 12.6% to 206 million pounds in 2010.
  • Compost bags lead the market as well as growth, representing nearly 50% of the market and rising at AAGR of 14.9%.
  • The North American market has not progressed as rapidly as those in Europe and Japan, and the major drivers in the U.S. are mandated legislation and increases in landfill pricing, which are not foreseen during the period.
  • This market is still beset with several problems, the most important of which are high prices and lack of an infrastructure for effective composting.



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, and a strong legislative mandate, to deal with many of these materials. New biodegradable polymers are entering the market, accompanied by a continuing withdrawal of other products, along with key companies entering and leaving this market.

Although the term “biodegradable polymers” is well known, there are no universal standards in place, nor is the fate of these materials in composting mediums clear, in many instances. In addition, the major drivers for growth in North America stem from mandated legislation. Some of which are in place, but so far, have not been promulgated.

This BCC market research report includes polymers that producers market as “fully biodegradable”. Most define a fully biodegradable polymer as a polymer that is completely converted by microorganisms to carbon dioxide, water and humus. In the case of anaerobic biodegradation, carbon dioxide, methane, and humus are the degradation products. The study provides an analysis of the biodegradable polymer market.


The report contains:


  • Coverage of the chemical types of biodegradable polymers
  • Details of their respective properties
  • Quantification of production volume
  • Market analysis by product and application with worldwide forecasts to 2010
  • Examination of the companies involved in terms of their products, including trade names, and their impact on the market
  • Discussions of definitions and standards, biodegradation testing, environmental issues, composting and relevant technologies.



An extensive review of technical and market information along with careful analysis of product literature was undertaken. Interviews were completed with major companies involved in the biodegradable polymer to clear up unresolved problems and to obtain their assessments of the current situation and to provide forecasts.


Following a detailed analysis of available information that included trade literature, articles and technical/marketing presentations and papers, and company literature, extensive 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.


Research analyst Mel Schlechter has over 30 years in the chemical industry, and specializes in plastics market research. He has been with BCC for over 10 years. Mr. Schlechter holds a B.S. degrees in chemistry, am M.S. in organic chemistry and an M.B.A. in marketing.

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Published - Aug-2001| Analyst - Melvin Schlechter| Code - PLS025A

Report Highlights

  • The biodegradable polymer market in North America is estimated at 25 million pounds in 2000.
  • This market will increase to almost 35 million pounds by 2005, growing at an average annual rate (AAGR) of 7%.
  • Another 25 million pounds of the biodegradable product polylactic acid (PLA) are also expected by 2005, but in non-biodegradable applications.
  • The market is dominated by loose-fill packaging and compost bags, the latter of which will feature the largest growth, climbing at an AAGR of 9.9% through 2005.
  • Other applications such as agricultural films, hygiene-related products and paper coatings will represent 8% of the market in 2005.


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