Archive for December 26th, 2012
Plant-based materials find one of their most important and obvious markets in disposable products — things like flatware, bags, packaging, medical supplies and bottles. Their contribution to the waste stream is potentially zero, if they can be processed in an industrial composting system that decomposes them completely. Manufacturers are developing polymers that can be broken down by enzymes into shorter molecules that can in turn be digested by bacteria and returned to the soil.
In its study “Bridging the Divide between Demands and Bio-Based Materials,” Lux Research Inc. says bioplastics should be able to find a place in small markets such as disposable liners (under $1 billion) and plastic flatware (nearly $.5 billion). Medical containers represent a market of something under $5 billion. Markets such as containers and packaging present larger opportunities. Pike Research projects that the worldwide packaging market will reach $530 billion by 2014 and that the market for sustainable packaging will grow from $88 billion in 2009 to $170 billion in 2014. Clint Wheelock, managing director at Pike, says that “More eco-friendly plastic packaging will have a huge impact, because it represents more than a third of the total global packaging industry, second only to paper packaging.” Read the rest of this entry »