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Packaging bioplastics success

Bioplastics industry will need technical advances, government subsidies to meet growth potential


LONDON, England—Opportunities are opening up for manufacturers of bioplastics, according to a new report from the U.K. based market research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Traditional packaging materials are harder to sort and recycle while consumers are increasingly seeking more environmentally friendly options—creating increased demand for bioplastics in the market.

It says the European bioplastics market earned $EUR 142.8 million in 2009. And earnings will likely reach EUR $475.5 million by 2016.

But the industry will need some forms of support to hit that mark, including tax exemptions and other subsidies to encourage bio-based production.

Producers can tap the bioplastics market potential if they can overcome drawbacks such as low material performance and prohibitive pricing. It says the cost issue can be effectively resolved by increasing the production capacity of key industry participants.

“A focus on increasing production capacities and their effective utilization will help close the price disparity between biopolymers and conventional plastics,” says Sujatha Vijayan, a research analyst with the firm.

Manufacturers will also require emerging technologies to improve the quality and properties of the material used such as developments in barrier properties for food packaging.

Smart technology is likely to find traction in this application, as it can actually monitor the quality of the food through freshness, temperature or quality indicators built into the package.