Degradable Plastics Trending Positive

CLEVELAND, OH | The degradable plastic industry is showing positive trends driven by continuing interest in environmental issues as well as the increasing availability of biodegradable plastics. These conclusions are from a new report by The Freedonia Group.

US demand for degradable plastics is forecast to rise 16.6%/yr to 325 million lb in 2014, valued at $380 million. Opportunities will reflect continued capacity growth, efforts to reduce pollution and US reliance on petroleum products, and consumer demand for sustainable, environmentally friendly packaging and manufactured goods.

Polylactic acid (PLA) and starch-based plastics dominate the market, and both are expected to see strong growth. PLA will register the faster gains due to increased availability, greater processor familiarity, and performance enhancements that will expand potential applications. Starch-based resins will benefit from the introduction of improved resin grades, blending with other biopolymers and an increasing number of suppliers.

Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), a new product, had negligible sales in 2009, but the report predicts rapid growth over the next ten years.

For more information on Degradable Plastics, visit

US Degradable Plastic Demand (million pounds) % Annual Growth
Item 2004 2009 2014 04-09 09-14
Polylactic Acid 20 55 140 22.4 20.5
Starch-Based 25 50 85 14.9 11.2
Cellulose 16 20 25 4.6 4.6
Petroleum-Based 12 19 30 9.6 9.6
Polyhydroxyalkanoates 1 35 103.6
Other 4 6 10 8.4 10.8
Total 77 151 325 14.4 16.6

©2010 by The Freedonia Group

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