A growing demand for more environmentally friendly products has seen the bioplastics market expand tremendously in recent years. Increasing consumer awareness is one of the key drivers that will lead to an anticipated 236% growth of the global bio-based plastics market over the next six years, to reach an estimated $65.6 billion by 2022.
Today, eco-conscious consumers attach environmental benefits to bioplastics, including the reduced usage of natural gas and petroleum, the potential minimization in carbon footprint, and the reduction of global warming potential (GWP). A 2015 survey, for example, showed that 84% of consumers globally say they seek out responsible products whenever possible, and 9 out of 10 consumers expect companies to address environmental issues.
Trend towards fully sustainable products
Businesses cannot afford to ignore this trend and it is important for them to offer products that reflect their responsible values. Plastics producers are therefore increasingly looking for bio-based additives, so that they can create products that are fully in line with consumer expectations and empower social consciousness, at a competitive price. In addition, they must also deliver the same, if not better, performance benefits as conventional materials.
Green packaging influences buying decisions
Bioplastics are used across a variety of sectors, including packaging, transportation, agriculture, electronics and textiles, but packaging remains the single largest field of application with almost 70% percent of the market. Product performance and appearance are particularly important when working with food packaging, where manufacturers aim to create differentiation and catch the eyes of consumers.
|You’ll find cool options for packaging and plastics in Minneapolis November 8-9 during the 15th anniversary of MinnPack that’s co-located with 5 other exhibitions including PLASTEC. For more information, visit the MinnPack website.|
Product performance remains key
Eco attributes are increasingly becoming a key purchasing factor, with 20% of shoppers in the UK stating they would avoid products that do not have environmentally friendly packaging. Nonetheless, attractive packaging remains a significant differentiator in a highly competitive market. Fog formation on the surface of film packaging for applications such as salad bags, for example, reduces visibility and makes it difficult to see the product inside the bag, which can be off-putting. Another common issue in plastics packaging is static charge, which can attract dust. This results in a dull appearance, causes handling issues and even poses the risk of fire, when handling electronics.
Increasing popularity of halal and kosher certified products
Meanwhile, an increasing number of brands aim to meet wider consumer trends by developing halal and kosher products, so seek the building block ingredients to gain full certification. In fact, multinationals like Unilever, Nestlé and Heinz have significantly expanded their halal or kosher product lines to appeal to the 1.8 billion consumers that opt for halal products globally, as well as the 12.35 million kosher consumers (see Polymer additives granted halal and kosher certification, published August 2017).
More and more formulators are looking for a greater choice of safe and effective additives, which allow them to develop bioplastics that meet consumer trends and requirements without sacrificing the quality and performance of their products. The Pationic range of polymer additives from Corbion (Lenexa, KS), based on edible vegetable oils, has been developed to offer plastics producers a comprehensive toolbox of polymer additive solutions that can improve product performance and, additionally, save time and money during processing.
Focused on tackling the most challenging formulation problems such as static charge, fogging and mold release issues, Corbion brings safe and bio-based ingredients into the polymer marketplace. The range has also been awarded halal and kosher certification, enabling Corbion’s customers to satisfy rising consumer demand for complete halal and kosher-certified products across a variety of applications.
For more information about Pationic, visit corbion.com/biochemicals/chemicals/brands/pationic
Michele “Mick” Potenza is responsible for the sale of polymer additives at Corbion. With 20 years’ professional experience, Mick has extensive knowledge of specialty chemicals and polymers. He is the author of various publications and articles including his latest work on antifog developments, featured in the Handbook of Industrial Polyethylene and Technology.