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Biodegradable Polymers: Global Markets and Technologies

·6-min read

Report Scope: Although the term “biodegradable polymers” is well-known, the controversy within the industry as to which materials should be considered biodegradable continues. These resins currently include polyolefin-based compositions containing starch and polymers containing aromatic groups that microorganisms have difficulty utilizing in their metabolism.

New York, May 04, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- announces the release of the report "Biodegradable Polymers: Global Markets and Technologies" -

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 for biodegradation to be completed. Almost all carbon-based materials are biodegradable, if given enough time.

This report includes polymers that are 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 period for degradation such that the terms “biodegradable” and “compostable” are not synonymous.

The issue concerning biodegradable versus compostable resins is an important issue that is discussed in detail in this report.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 called bio-based. Some polymers are both bio-based and biodegradable.

This report includes an overview and clear understanding of the global market for biodegradable polymers and analysis of global market trends, with 2020 considered as the base year and estimates provided for 2021 to 2026, with a projection of the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the forecast period.

This report covers the chemical types of biodegradable polymers along with their properties, production, producers and applications. Definitions, standards, market drivers, biodegradation testing, environmental issues, composting and relevant technologies will also be discussed.

The different chemical types of biodegradable polymers considered in the report include: polylactic acid (PLA), starch-based and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA).A qualitative analysis of protein-based products, biodegradable polymers from soybeans, genetically modified (GM) biodegradable polymers and oxo-biodegradable polymers is also covered in the report.

The report further includes a discussion of the application of biodegradable polymers such as packaging, fibers/fabrics, agriculture, medical, food service, electrical and electronics, and automotive, among others.

The report concludes with a special focus on the competitive landscape, the key strategies adopted by manufacturers and detailed profiles of the major manufacturers, their products, strategies, trade names and impact on the market.

Report Includes:
- 54 data tables and 51 additional tables
- An overview of the global market and technologies for biodegradable polymers
- Estimation of the market size and analyses of global market trends, with data from 2020, estimates for 2021 and projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2026
- Characterization and quantification of market potential for biodegradable polymers by application, chemical type, and geographical region
- Identification of market drivers, restraints and other forces impacting the global market and evaluation of current market size and forecast
- Detailed description of biopolymer and the synthetic polymer gap; discussion on integration of biodegradable plastics with disposal infrastructure, and information on non-uniform degradable tests such as ASTM D-6400
- Discussion on modes of degradation of biodegradable polymers and effect of environmental exposure conditions and polymer structure on biodegradation
- Coverage of recent developments in the biodegradable polymers market and insights into regulations and R&D activities
- Information about compostable vs. biodegradable polymers, key properties for compostable plastics, restrictions on compostable claims, standards and specifications and PLA problems associated with composting facilities
- Market share analysis of the key companies of the industry and coverage of events like mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures, collaborations or partnerships, and other key market strategies

The term “polymer” is derived from the Greek words polu, meaning “many, much” and “meros,” meaning “parts” which refer to a molecule’s structure, which is composed of multiple repeating units.Biodegradable polymers are comprised of monomers that are linked to another functional group and have unstable links behind the functional group.

Biodegradable polymers break down into carbon dioxide, nitrogen, water, biomass and inorganic salts. Biodegradable polymers are decomposed under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions by enzymes and the presence of microorganisms.

The global market for biodegradable polymers is expected to grow because of high demand in a broad range of end-user industries across globe.Although biodegradable polymers have been commercially available for several years, they are still considered early in their product life cycle.

This market faces several major problems; most importantly are relatively high prices and the lack of an infrastructure for effective composting, an extremely critical aspect for biodegradable polymers market success.

The biodegradable polymers market is expected to continue its high growth over the next five years and be dominated by packaging, followed by fibers/fabrics.Most of the remaining applications of biodegradable polymers will experience considerable growth rates partly because of the low market numbers.

The fibers/fabrics and agriculture markets will experience substantial growth, especially from the hygiene and agricultural end uses, including mulching films. The medical application segment is anticipated to experience the highest growth rate among all the biodegradable polymers applications in coming years.

Increasing use of biodegradable products due to strict governmental laws prohibiting the use of conventional plastics and growing awareness among the public toward their ill-effects is boosting market growth.

The polylactic acid (PLA) segment led the global biodegradable plastic market due to use in applications such as 3D printing, mulch film and packaging. The starch-based segment is also one of the most consumed products, and is used in packaging, consumer electronics, agriculture, automotive applications and textiles.

Europe accounted for the largest share in terms of value and volume.The European Commission’s ban on plastics is expected to fuel packaging sector growth over the study period.

Biodegradable product applications in the medical industry, such as medication encapsulation and medical surgeries, are becoming more common.

Plastics require hundreds of years to decompose.To combat this issue, many countries have banned the use of single-use plastics in favor of eco-friendly biodegradable alternatives.

Bans on non-recyclable traditional plastics are expected to boost consumer demand in many regions, especially in Europe and North America. Furthermore, rising living standards and disposable income in developed countries are expected to bode well for the Asia-Pacific and South American markets.
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