The Rise of Biodegradable Polymers: Market Growth and Challenges.

In recent times, the importance of biodegradable materials has been growing. This is particularly important in protecting the environment from the increasing amount of plastic waste. One effective solution is the use of partially biodegradable polymers. These are created by blending biodegradable and non-biodegradable commercial polymers, which can reduce plastic waste volume due to partial degradation.

Blends of starchy biodegradable polymers with inert polymers, such as PE, are based on the reasoning that if the biodegradable component is present in sufficient amounts, microorganisms in the waste disposal environment will remove it. The remaining inert components should then disintegrate and disappear. Different groups closely monitor the biodegradable products market and its perspectives.

According to a technical market research report from BCC Research, the global market for biodegradable polymers reached 245 million kg in 2007. This market is expected to increase to over 545 million kg by 2012, with a compound average annual growth rate of 17.3%. The report breaks down the market into separate applications, including compost bags, loose-fill packaging, and other packaging (such as medical/hygiene products, agricultural, and paper coatings and miscellaneous).

Currently, compost bags have the largest share of the market. The loose-fill packaging has the second largest share, and other packaging is the third largest. The biodegradable polymer market is still at an early stage in its product life cycle. It has several major problems, including relatively high prices and a lack of infrastructure for effective composting. However, recent increases in petroleum-based plastics have rekindled interest in biodegradable polymers.

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