Trends in biodegradable/compostable plastics market
I have seen many customers looking for sustainable alternatives to plastics and they are panicking, as finding a perfect sustainable solution is challenging. There are some challenges like, supply chain problems due to the unacceptability of bioplastics by the plastic lobby, the Unavailability of a perfect match of material due to lack of research and development, unavailability of a processor for compostable materials due to lack of technical knowledge, material/product not available locally or easily due to fewer manufacturers, lack of public awareness due to uneven government regulations, etc.
Currently, the compostable flexible packaging market has captured a large share in SUPs,
as the government also wants to phase out all plastic bags as soon as possible. Moreover, favourable PBAT prices gave good motivation to manufacturers recently. In addition, there are no micron restrictions on compostable bags. Ease of loading bio-filler helped the compostable market to match the prices. The public has also become used to “no plastic carry bags” banners. Hence, the compostable/biodegradable flexible market is growing rapidly.
The emerging market is compostable lamination on paper and the market demand is huge. Due to some challenges, the market is not fulfilled properly. To capture the larger market, some issues need to be solved, for example, lower thickness is difficult, good quality material is unavailable, imported materials are too costly, local manufacturers are not providing the quality up to the mark and more research and development is needed.
Cutlery items are always a contradictory market for plastic and compostable manufacturers.
As it is difficult to identify where the government regulations are followed properly. It is already banned nationwide, even the government is making raids on manufacturers and sealing their units if they are caught manufacturing banned items. However, one can see plastic spoons and forks almost everywhere in the market. There is a good potential to capture the market, as the only alternative is a wooden spoon, which is not proffered for liquids and many types of foods. Moreover, it is not possible to get the wood in quantity to replace the complete market.
Straw and sticks (for candy, earbuds, balloons, etc.) are completely replaced by paper nowadays. Nevertheless, it is not suitable, as it starts disintegrating quickly once it comes in contact with liquid. There are more chances of contaminating the drink with paper and drinking it with the beverage. Only compostable is a viable and adequate replacement for it.
Furthermore, tableware items made from molded fibers (bagasse pulp) are becoming popular in the market and increasing their market share rapidly. New manufacturers are also coming to the market to capture the fast-growing market. The only drawback is slow production speed. To capture a larger market share significant investment is required by manufacturers to establish multiple production lines.
To sum up, the overall bioplastic market is at a nascent stage now and it clearly shows signs of future potential. Keeping in mind that the challenges need to be identified and solved.