Packaging accounted for 70% of the total volume of biodegradable polymers in 2010 but is actually expected to decrease slightly to about 66% by 2016. This sector will utilize 656 million lb in 2011 and is forecast to increase at a 20.5% CAGR to reach nearly 1.7 billion lb in 2016.
The fibers/fabrics segment will show substantial growth, particularly in the hygiene market, going from 134 million lb in 2011 to 435 million lb in 2016, reflecting a 26.6% CAGR. The report looks at the controversy within the industry as to which materials should be considered biodegradable, noting that a portion of the current debate revolves around defining an acceptable period of time for biodegradation to be completed. "Almost all carbon-based materials biodegrade, given an acceptable period of time," the report notes.