Biodegradable Polymers

Oct 2013| PLS025E| BCC Publishing

Report Highlights

The global biodegradable polymer market is expected to continue its high growth phase over the next five years. The market is projected to reach a volume of nearly 1.3 billion lbs in 2013. This market is expected to reach nearly 1.5 billion lbs by 2014 and 3 billion lbs by 2019, a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.4%.

Report Includes

  • An overview of the global market for biodegradable polymers, defined as polymers that are completely converted by microorganisms to carbon dioxide, water, and humus.
  • Analyses of global market trends, with data estimates for 2013 and 2014, and projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2019.
  • A discussion of how this niche market is beset with a variety of roadblocks, led by high prices, lack of industrial infrastructure in the United States, and a strong global legislative mandate to increase the usage of these materials.
  • Characterization of the industry by new technologies, stringent environmental restraints, and very unstable oil prices, among other issues.


Although the term biodegradable polymers is well known, there are only a few truly universal standards in place; moreover, the fate of these materials in composting mediums is unclear in many instances. In addition, major drivers for global growth stem from mandated legislation. Though some mandates are in place, many have not been promulgated.

The controversy within the industry as to which materials should be considered biodegradable continues unabated. These resins currently include polyolefin-based compositions containing starch and polymers containing aromatic groups that microorganisms have difficulty utilizing in their metabolism.

Furthermore, there are additives said to convert petroleum-based resins to biodegradable versions. These resultant resins are said to be oxo-biodegradable.

Part of the current debate revolves around defining an acceptable period of time for biodegradation to be completed. Almost all carbon-based materials are biodegradable, if given an acceptable period of time.

This 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. However, many within the industry insist on a time period for degradation such that the terms biodegradability and composting are not synonymous. The issues concerning biodegradable versus compostable resins is a very important issue that is discussed in detail.

Polymers derived from renewable resources (non-petroleum-based) are not covered unless they are considered biodegradable since many polymers derived from renewable resources are not biodegradable. These materials are often termed as bio-based. Some polymers are both bio-based and biodegradable.

This report covers the chemical types of biodegradable polymers along with their properties, production, producers and applications. The companies involved will be detailed in terms of their products including trade names and their impact on the market. Definitions and standards, market drivers, biodegradation testing, environmental issues, composting and relevant technologies will also be discussed.

An examination of global consumption is provided along with considerable information regarding North American, European and Asian products, technologies, markets and companies.

Analyst Credentials

Melvin Schlechter has thirty years of experience in the chemical industry, specializes in plastics market research and has been a BCC Research analyst for since 2006. Previously, Mr. Schlechter was the International Director of Chemical Reports for Frost & Sullivan. He also worked for the Union Carbide Company as a Senior Market Research Analyst, was a Senior Organic/Polymer Chemist for Stauffer Chemical Company and a Research Organic Chemist for Allied Signal Corporation. Mr. Schlechter holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Queens College, a Masters in Organic Chemistry from Virginia Tech, and an MBA from Adelphi University.

Table of Contents & Pricing

All reports provided in PDF format. For shared licensing options (5+ Users), please call a representative at (+1) 781-489-7301 or contact us at
Title/Chapter NamePagesPrice Member Price
Full Report: Biodegradable Polymers181 $2,750 Free
Chapter- 1: INTRODUCTION3Free
Chapter- 2: SUMMARY2$250Free
Chapter- 3: TERMINOLOGY4$61Free
Chapter- 8: APPLICATIONS41$623Free
Chapter- 13: COMPANY PROFILES19$289Free
Chapter- 14: APPENDIX I: 2$30Free
Chapter- 15: APPENDIX II3$46Free
Chapter- 16: APPENDIX III2$30Free
Chapter- 17: APPENDIX IV1$15Free
Published - May-2011| Analyst - Melvin Schlechter| Code - PLS025D

Report Highlights

The global biodegradable polymer market is expected to have its largest growth over the next 5 years, dominated by packaging and usage in fibers. The global biodegradable polymer market is estimated at 932 million pounds in 2011 and is expected to increase at a 22.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach nearly 2.6 billion pounds in 2016.

Published - Dec-2007| Analyst - Melvin Schlechter| Code - PLS025C

Report Highlights

  • 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.
Published - Dec-2005| Analyst - Melvin Schlechter| Code - PLS025B

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.

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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