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Biodegradable polymer market to reach 2.5 billion lb in five years time

A 22% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years will push the global biodegradable polymer market from 932 million lb today to 2.5 billion lb in 2016. That finding in a new report on the market, which is expected to enjoy its highest growth over the next 5 years, with the expansion dominated by packaging and fibers.

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.

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