Bio Plastic market is estimated to be worth USD 2.1 billion in 2007 (USD 1 billion in Europe, USD 800 million in the USA, USD 300 million in other countries), and the total amount of Bio Plastic produced in the world is estimated to be about 265,000 tons in 2007. 4 major Bio Plastic companies in the world are, “NatureWorks” in the USA, “Novamont” in Italy, “BIOTEC” in Germany and “Sphere” in France.
About 360,000 tons (2007) of Bio Plastic is produced a year in the world, and the Bio Plastic market only takes up about 0.3% of the total market, which is insignificant.
But it is estimated that the market will grow at a pace of 37% a year, and the total amount would rise up to 2.33 million tons in 2013, and 3.45 million tons in 2020.
Due to the introduction of Kyoto Protocol, which will take effect in 2013, the competitiveness oil based high molecule will weaken because they emit carbon dioxide. On the other hand, the Bio Plastic market will become stronger and it is estimated that the market will take up from 1.5 to 4.8% of the total market and estimated to produce 4 million~12.5 million tons of Bio Plastic. (Frost & Sullivan)
Producing Bio Plastic using biomass can help carbon dioxide emissions compared to fossil fuel use fall about 10~70%.
Looking at the current trends in the Bio Plastic market, it is projected that by 2012, 5~10% of the existing high molecules will be replaced with Bio Plastic, and including bio-based plastic that biomass is applied to plastic high molecule, it is projected that more than 30% can be replaced.
Bio Plastic is gaining traction as an alternative to plastic, but there is still room for improvement and the categories that need some improvement are:
Especially, with the packaging of fermented foods, such as, Guchujang (Korean chili paste), Doenjang (soybean paste), Kimchi, Jeotgal (salted seafood), cheese, there are lot of cases where microorganisms are alive inside the products and the expiration period is very long, there is a need to lengthen the degradation period. Also, during distribution, there is a risk of gas emission such as carbon dioxide during storage, so there is a need to add biological membrane function on the packaging for it to breathe.
Currently, bio polymer producing technology is keep improving, and the price competitiveness is also improving, we can look forward to a fast market growth.
The unit cost of petroleum-based propylene is about USD2 per kilogram, on the other hand, the unit cost of biodegradable plastic PLA, aliphatic polyester, TPS, PHA (a molecule of polyester, one kind of Bio Plastic) which is going to be commercialized this year, is about USD 3~5 per kilogram. Biomass Plastic which has supplemented these weaknesses, maintains USD 2~3 unit cost per kilogram.
Recently, there are many cases were they use annual plants, seaweed, industrial waste, which fall into the category of infinite resources and instead of using starch which is edible resource, there are many ongoing research on inedible organic waste resources. And the products with functionality and strength and physical property are being improved so it is expected that Bio Plastic will be applied in many fields at a very fast pace.