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Flexo Sustainable : Summer 2012
World Demand For Bioplastics To Exceed 1M Metric Tons In 2015 Global demand for biodegradable and bio-based plastics will more than triple to over one million metric tons in 2015, valued at $2.9 billion. Bioplastics have moved past the initial phase of market introduction and are now experienc- ing robust increases in demand in virtually all parts of the world. Gains will be fueled by a number of factors, includ- ing consumer preferences for environmentally sustainable materials, improved performance of bioplastic resins relative to traditional plastics, and the introduction of commodity plastics produced from bio-based sources. Ultimately, however, price considerations will be the primary determinant of bioplastic market success, and it is expected that rising petroleum costs will allow some bioplastic resins to be able to achieve price parity with conventional plastics by the end of the decade. These and other trends are presented in “World Bioplastics,” a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc. , a Cleveland-based industry research firm. Biodegradable plastics accounted for 90 percent of the world bioplastics market in 2010. Excellent growth is forecast for the two leading biodegradable plastics, starch- based resins and polylactic acid (PLA), both of which will more than double in demand through 2015. The fastest gains for biodegradable plastics, however, will be seen for polyhydroxy-alkanoate (PHA) resins, which are just entering the commercial market. Despite the strong advances for biodegradables, non- biodegradable bio-based resins will be the primary driver of bioplastics demand through 2015 and beyond. Gains will be fueled by the availability of commercial quantities of bio-based polyethylene from Braskem’s 200,000 -metric-ton-per-year plant in Brazil, which opened in late 2010. Two other bio-based polyethylene plants — as well as a bio-based polypropylene facility — are also in the planning stages and are expected to open around 2015. Additionally, industrial production of fully bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is forecast to be- come a reality by the end of the decade. As a result, demand for non-biodegradable bioplastics will rise from 30,000 metric tons in 2010 to 1.3 million metric tons in 2020. n WORLD BIOPLASTICS DEMAND (thousand metric tons) % Annual Growth Item 2005 2010 2015 2005-2010 2010-2015 Bioplastics Demand 130 300 1025 18.2 27.9 North America 34 80 242 18.7 24.8 Western Europe 60 125 347 15.8 22.7 Asia/Pacific 33 83 320 20.3 31.0 Other Regions 3 12 116 32.0 57.4 © 2011 by The Freedonia Group, Inc. Ecological Economics Kraft Foods recently announced that it has cut 45 million pounds of weight from the packaging of products since 2010. According to a report entitled, “Creating a More Delicious World,” in the last year the company also increased its amount of sustainable agricultural commodities by 36 percent. It has also eliminated 12.5 million travel miles from operations. Through its innovative YES Pack, Kraft has seen a 60 percent reduction in plastic. This packaging was designed after a thor- ough Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) process. Engineers at Kraft Foods desired a more functional packaging for salad dressing. The one-gallon jugs made of HPDE (High Density Polyethylene) were creating a lot of wasted dressing. The engineers came up with a solution that was lighter, flexible and made of squeezable materials constructed of nylon and polyethylene. Kraft engineers then performed a LCA with PE International, a leading LCA firm. The study found that the YES Pack has significant environmental benefits – it required 50 percent less energy dur- ing production, uses 60 percent less plastic and reduces CO2 emissions by 70 percent. Kraft is exploring how it can use LCAs to innovate further. “ Sustainability is not an afterthought anymore,” said Ryan Portrey, an engineer at Kraft who worked on the YES Pack. “ Sustainability is here to stay, and we’re integrating it into our mindset from research and development through sales and marketing. We believe that it’s our responsibility to look out for our customers and the environment. ” n 2 Sustainable FLEXO summer 2012 www.flexomag.com SuSTaInaBLE ShOrTS