The global market for biodegradable polymers will amount to an estimated 932 mln lbs in 2011, and is expected to increase to more than 2.5 bln lbs in 2016, for a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22%, as per BCC Research. According to the report, the largest segment of the market, packaging, is expected to reach nearly 1.7 bln lbs in 2016. The market in 2011 is estimated at 656 mln lbs, making the five-year CAGR 20.5%. The second-largest segment, made up of fibers/fabrics, is expected to increase in volume from an estimated 134 mln lbs in 2011 to 435 mln lbs in 2016, for a five-year CAGR of 26.6%. The food service segment is estimated to be 25 mln lbs in 2011 and will increase to 40 mln lbs in 2016 at a CAGR of 9.9%. Other markets expected to experience growth include agriculture, automotive, medical, electronic/electrical.
The biodegradable polymer market, although commercial for more than 20 years, is still very early in its product life cycle, says the report. The market is still beset with several major problems, the most important of which are relatively high prices and lack of an infrastructure for effective composting—an extremely critical aspect for biodegradable polymer market success, claims the report. New biodegradable polymers are being introduced, accompanied by a continuing withdrawal of other products. In addition, key companies are entering and leaving the market, “with more of the former rather than the latter,” says BCC.?The industry has been characterized by new technologies, tightening environmental restraints, and very unstable oil prices, among other issues. This combination of factors necessitates a realistic appraisal of the impact of these polymers over the next five years. High oil prices are said to be a major driver for biodegradable polymers.