Bio-based Polymer Market Overview
Bio-based polymers market size is forecast to reach US$29.8 billion by 2027, after growing at a CAGR of 18.2% during 2022-2027. Bio-based polymers are sustainable polymers synthesized from renewable resources such as biomass, starch, and rubber among others. The raw materials of bio-based polymers are obtained from plants and animals or enzymes or microorganisms. Polylactic acid or polylactide is considered biodegradable and compostable. The growing environmental concerns like disposal and recycling of synthetic polymers are one of the major factors driving the market for bio-based polymers during the forecast period. The growing adoption of bio-based materials among end-use industries such as packaging, pharmaceutical, construction, and consumer goods among others is also supporting the market growth for bio-based polymers. Among all bio-based polymers, chitosan is on the rise due to the presence of amino groups on the polymer backbone that distinguishes it as a unique natural cationic polymer. According to the data published by European Bioplastics in cooperation with the nova-Institute, the global bioplastics production in 2021 reached 2.42 million tonnes. However, the high price of bio-based polymer is likely to hamper the market growth during the forecast period 2022-2027.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted different industries; one of the few industries that were primarily hit to some extent was the manufacturing industry. The delay in manufacturing activities and shut down different end-use industries such as textile, personal care, food & beverages in both developed and developing nations impacted the market growth for bio-based polymers during covid-19. However, the bio-based polymers industry faced problems related to the supply chain, lack of workforce, and lack of raw materials supply among others.
Bio-based Polymer Market Segment Analysis – By Polymer Type
The Polyhydroxyalkanoates segment accounted for approximately 30% of the market share in 2021 and is estimated to grow at a significant CAGR during the forecast period. PHAs can be biodegradable in aquatic, soil, and municipal waste treatment environments and protects the environment and aquatic animals. The growing demand for rigid and flexible packaging among different industries such as food & beverage, and pharmaceutical is driving the demand for the polyethylene segment. Polyhydroxyalkanoate is used in different packaging applications such as carry bags, plastic films, and bottles among others. According to DCC China, the production of bottled drinking water reached a total annual consumption of 49 million metric tons in 2020.
Bio-based Polymer Market Segment Analysis – By End-Use Industry
The packaging segments accounted for approximately 58% of the market share in 2021 and are estimated to grow at a significant CAGR during the forecast period. The change in lifestyle of consumers along with increasing environmental regulations towards usage of synthetic polymers have increased the demand for bio-based polymers in the packaging industry. Plastics offer high durability and impermeability to water, which has driven the demand for polymers in the packaging industry. Packaging applications of bio-based polymers include food packaging, healthcare packaging, cosmetic & personal care packaging, and shopping bags, among others. In July 2020, Japan government has passed a new rule that all retailers be charged a fee for the use of plastic shopping bags, with the exception of biodegradable plastic bags and plastic bags containing at least 25 percent of renewable plant-based materials. According to the article Forbes, the Coca-cola Company produces approximately 3million tonnes of plastic packaging in a year. These are some of the factors driving the market for the packaging industry.
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Bio-based Polymer Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
Asia Pacific region held a significant share in the Bio-based Polymer market in 2021, up to 42%, owing to the rapid growth in packaging, food & beverage, and pharmaceutical industries in the region. The presence of developing nations such as India and China is driving the market growth in the region. Abundant raw material sources and the availability of a workforce also support the regional demand. The presence of leading food & beverage and personal care manufacturing companies such as Nestle, PepsiCo, the Coco-cola company, LOreal SA., The Procter & Gamble., Beiersdorf AG., Unilever PLC., and others are supporting the regional growth during the forecast period. According to the facts published by China Chain Store & Franchise Association, China’s food and beverage (F&B) sector reached approximately US$595 billion in 2019.
Bio-based Polymer Market Drivers:
Growing adoption of eco-friendly polymers among consumers
Growing consumer awareness regarding sustainable plastic solutions and increasing efforts to eliminate the use of non-biodegradable conventional polymers are supporting the market growth of bio-based polymers. Traditional plastics, which are generally petroleum-based take decades to degrade the earth and cause environmental pollution. Bio-based products break down faster and degrade easily into the natural system. Further, the rate of decomposition of biodegradable plastics by the activities of microorganisms is much faster than that of traditional plastics used in the market space. Generally, bio-based polymers break down up to 60% within 180 days or less whereas traditional plastics, take more than 1,000 years to break down completely. The generation of plastic waste and subsequent uncontrolled plastic pollution is one of the major environmental problems, governments and agencies are facing today. SO governments are imposing strict rules regarding the disposal of synthetic plastics. The government is also investing in the development of alternative plastics. The European Commission allotted US114 million to R&D for the development of alternative feedstocks, as part of the Horizon 2020 Research Programme. These are some of the factors driving the market growth for bio-based polymers during the forecast period.
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Bio-based Polymer Market Challenges:
Higher prices of bio-based polymers than synthetic polymers
Generally, the production cost of bio-based polymers is 20% to 80% higher than that of the normal polymers due to the high polymerization cost of bio-based polymers. In general, the bio-based materials are still at the development stage and have not been commercialized to the same level as their petrochemical counterparts, which have been developing rapidly for more than 50 years. The bio-based polymers occupy only 1% of total polymers produced globally whereas conventional polymers occupy 99% and are easily available in the marketplace. The cost of bio-based polymers varies from US$2/kg – US$5/kg and whereas traditional polymers are available at US$ 1/kg – US$2/kg. Hence the high price of bio-based polymers is hampering the market growth during the forecast period.
Bio-based Polymer Market Landscape
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the Bio-based Polymer market. Major players in the Bio-based Polymer market include
- BASF SE
- PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited
- Arkema Group
- Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation
- Teijin Limited
- Toray Industries, Inc.
- Kuraray Co., Ltd.
- Novamont SpA
- Finasucre SA.
- Other Companies
In October 2021, SABIC launched a new portfolio of bio-based ULTEM™ resins that offer sustainability benefits while delivering exactly the same high performance and processability as incumbent ULTEM materials. ULTEM materials find its applications in consumer electronics, aerospace, automotive, and other industries where high temperature, dimensional stability, or demanding mechanical performance is required.
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The Asia Pacific is expected to register the highest CAGR of 21.5% during the forecast period (2022-2027). Rapid urbanization, emerging economies, and increasing construction activities are the major factors driving the market growth.
The Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), segment is expected to hold a major market share between the forecast period 2022-2027.
Increased focus on bio-based content over biodegradability among end-users are driving the market growth during the forecast period 2022-2027.
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