In 2013, the global demand for bioplastics was an estimated 1.1 mln metric tons, as per Company and Markets. Industry analysts expect that the global demand will reach 1.4 mln tons by the end of 2014, out of which around 49% of the demand is expected to come from the United States and around 27% from Europe. Although bioplastics represent a minor share of the overall plastic demand (thermoplastics still account for 80% of the plastics market), their use and importance is growing.
Majority of plastic polymers are derived from hydrocarbons and the degradation of conventional plastics releases carbon dioxide which has been locked in fossil fuels. In contrast, bio-based plastics (bioplastics) are based on renewable resources and the capture and release cycles for carbon dioxide are much shorter. Bio-based plastics (bioplastics) have been the subject of research and development efforts for decades and today represent an important and rapidly growing part of the global bioeconomy. Development efforts have led to the discovery of new properties and, recently, attempts to make identical thermoplastics to the petro-plastics but using renewable raw materials of a biological origin. The result of these efforts is a highly diverse range of bioplastics, by no means all of which are compostable or biodegradable.