Bioplastics are a form of plastics derived from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable oil, corn starch, pea starch or microbiota, rather than fossil fuel plastics which are derived from petroleum.
Need for plastics that are more eco-friendly and sustainable
• Estimates put global consumption of bioplastics in 2006 at around 85,000 tonnes..
• COPA (Committee of Agricultural Organisation in the European Union) and COGEGA (General Committee for the Agricultural Cooperation in the European Union) have made an assessment of the potential of bioplastics in different sectors of the European economy (2001):
• Catering products: 450,000 tonnes per year
• Organic waste bags: 100,000 tonnes per year
• Biodegradable mulch foils: 130,000 tonnes per year
• Biodegradable foils for diapers: 80,000 tonnes per year
• Diapers, 100% biodegradable: 240,000 tonnes per year
• Foil packaging: 400,000 tonnes per year
• Vegetable packaging:400,000 tonnes per year
• Tyre components: 200,000 tonnes per year
• Total 2,000,000 tonnes per year
• The European bioplastics trade group predicted annual capacity would more than triple to 1.5 million tons by 2011
• BCC Research forecasts the global market for biodegradable polymers to grow at a compound average growth rate of more than 17 percent through 2012. Even so, bioplastics will encompass a small niche of the overall plastic market, which is forecast to reach 500 billion pounds (220 million tonnes) globally by 2010