Interest in bio-based and biodegradable — or more accurately compostable — polymers is on the rise, even if overall volumes are small. Data published by European Bioplastics (based on information from Nova-Institute) shows global bioplastics production — including bio-based versions of PE, PET and PA — amounted to 1.9m tonnes for 2022. That is less than 0.5% of global plastics production (400m tonnes for 2022 according to PlasticsEurope data).
However, although certainly a niche market, bioplastics can offer reduced environmental impact and simplified waste management options compared to some of today’s fossil-based polymers. While actual environmental benefits vary depending on feedstocks, production methods, application, and end-of-life options, considerable strides are being made in the sector.