(SeeNews) - Dec 11, 2012 - The global market for bio-plastics will reach 8.6 million tonnes in shipments and USD 6.1 billion (EUR 4.7bn) in revenues by 2018, according to a new report by NanoMarkets.
The share of bio-plastics in the total plastics market is expected to rise to 7% by 2020 from just 1% currently. The market will be driven by the recyclability of some bio-plastics and the bio-degradability of others. According to NanoMarkets, the industry will also be helped by mandates in Europe and Japan that favour compostable/recyclable materials, as well as investments from large companies such as German chemicals group BASF (ETR:BAS) and US Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW).
In 2013, the packaging industry will consume 1.3 billion tonnes of bio-plastics, nearly 75% of total bio-plastics shipments. It will still account for 65% of the market in 2020. Bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is forecast to replace entirely fossil-based plastics in plastic bottles, while polylactic acid (PLA) foamed structures are likely to win a noticeable portion of the food container segment.
The automotive sector also presents a significant opportunity for bio-plastics. It is expected to use 75 million tonnes of bio-plastics next year, but that amount is to grow more than tenfold in 2018, according to the report.
According to the study by 2020, Asia and South America will produce almost 80% of all bio-plastics as there is a shift in production nearer to where feedstocks are grown.
NanoMarkets also says that currently bio-plastics are two to three times more expensive than fossil-based plastics and that in order to achieve their full potential, their price should be reduced.
(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.772)