The global biodegradable plastics market size is estimated at USD 7.7 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 23.3 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 24.9%. Higher price of biodegradable plastics than conventional plastics, along with the performance issue of biodegradable plastics are the major restraining factors for the biodegradable plastics market.
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Biodegradable plastics possess a high potential for growth as it lowers the carbon footprint, reduces waste, improves compostability, and lowers energy costs. Increase in the use of biodegradable plastics in the packaging end-use industry, increase in waste management regulations in Europe, favorable government policies, and rising concern for human health are driving the demand for biodegradable plastics.
Based on type, the biodegradable plastics market is classified into PLA, Starch blends, PHA, Biodegradable polyesters, and others. Biodegradable plastics are derived from renewable sources or are based on monomers derived from renewable sources such as corn, potato, rice, soy, sugarcane, wheat, and vegetable oil. Polylactic acid (PLA) is considered one of the most important biodegradable plastics due to its good mechanical properties and easy processability.
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The raw materials required to manufacture PLA is also easily available. Such factors make PLA the largest segment of the biodegradable plastics market, and it is expected to grow at a rapid rate. Growing concerns related to environmental pollution and non-renewable finite petroleum resources are leading to the increasing use of biodegradable plastics.
Based on end user, packaging industry captures the larger part of market share in terms of volume and value during the forecast period, followed by textiles, consumer goods, agriculture & horticulture and other industries. The need for sustainable solutions has encompassed several industry verticals, including food & beverages, e-commerce, and FMCG. The new applications for biodegradable plastics in packagings such as diaper packaging, adult incontinence products, and landfill covers, are gaining momentum. With several innovative products coming up, the use of biodegradable plastics in packaging is expected to rise further during the forecast period. In addition, the rise in e-commerce have played an intense focus on increased packaging requirements.
Europe is estimated to lead the biodegradable plastics market, in terms of both value and volume, during the forecast period. Countries, such as France, Spain, and the UK, are witnessing an increase in the adoption of biodegradable plastics in the packaging & bags industry, which will, in turn, enhance the growth of the market. The growth in the region is attributed to the increase in population and rising adoption of biodegradable plastics products.
However, segregation & processing of biodegradable plastics, fluctuating oil prices, expensive & complex production processes and limited regulations in developing nations are the major challenges for the growth of the biodegradable plastics market between 2021 and 2026.
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