Biodegradable and compostable bioplastics: Inflection point now in sight


Istituto per lo Studio dei Materiali Nanostrutturati, CNR, Palermo, Italy

According to a recent analysis commissioned by European Bioplastics (an association based in Germany representing about 70 members from the entire value chain of bioplastics in Western Europe), global production capacity of bioplastics will grow from around 2.11 million tonnes in 2018 to about 2.62 million tonnes by 2023 (1).

Global production of plastics, for comparison, in 2017 amounted to 335 million tonnes.

Starting from single-use products, biodegradable and compostable bioplastics is now ready to rapidly displace non-biodegradable plastics derived from oil on a global scale.
The reason, we have lately explained elsewhere (2), lies in the pivotal role that China and India are up to play in this major shift to clean technology.

Accounting for about 37% of the world’s population, China (1.4 billion people) and India (current 1.3 billion population) are well suited for large-scale bioplastics manufacturing from biological resources, exactly as it is happening with distributed energy generation thanks to solar and wind power.

To protect its environment, in 2017 China already banned almost all foreign plastic waste ...