Huge Opportunities Ahead for Biodegradable Plastics in Packaging Industry

Published Date : Mar 14, 2016

The global market for biodegradable plastics is projected to become one of the principal complementary markets for a number of industries that consume plastic on a large scale. Biodegradable plastics are the variety of plastics that decompose in nature owing to action of microorganisms, just like other biodegradable substances.

The continuously rising demand for environment-friendly products, along with the strict regulatory scenario concerning waste products and their disposal are boosting the growth of the global biodegradable plastics market.

Manufacturing of biodegradable plastics primarily includes the fermentation of sugars for the production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) or polylactic acid (PLA). Biodegradable plastics are made from bio-based substances as well as petroleum-based materials. The high and continuously fluctuating prices of petroleum products in the past years have led to a decline in demand for petroleum-based biodegradable plastics, and have at the same time opened several growth opportunities for bio-based biodegradable plastics.

The flourishing global packaging industry is projected to be one of the major takers of biodegradable plastics in the future years. Even now, the global market for biodegradable plastics earns a major share of its revenues from the packaging industry. Packaging applications of biodegradable plastics include their use in packaging beverages, food products, and industrial goods.

In the food and beverages sector, especially, the use of biodegradable plastics is expected to bring revolutionary changes to the purpose served by packaging. A new biodegradable plastic devised by a group of scientists at the National University of Singapore is said to increase the shelf life of the perishable food items contained in the packaging. The environment-friendly plastic is made from natural ingredients such as chitosan and grapefruit seed extract. The researchers are planning to further explore possible improvements in the technology, which is currently quite expensive as well – 30% more priced than presently used plastic films.

For the large scale utilization of such plastics in the food and beverage industry, it will essentially have to be economic for the consumer to not bear the extra cost for something that will directly go to trash after the food product is consumed. However, with improvement in the technology and commencement of large scale manufacturing capabilities of such plastic will definitely help in bringing down prices. There is still time for this, but when this actually happens, biodegradable plastics will rule the packaging industry.