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Opinion Reliable and

Opinion Reliable and transparent by Constance Ißbrücker, European Bioplastics Compared to conventional plastics, the bioplastics market is a fairly young one. Currently, there is no common systematization for bioplastics statistics available. The consequence: Diverse reports from private and public organisations and institutions try to give an impression of where the market stands and where it is heading. Different methodological approaches with varying levels of thoroughness are published. Reports giving not one common, but quite a multitude of impressions are the consequence. This is confusing for the end consumer, and also on a B2B level. What is really included in the data? Which forecasts are reliable? These were leading questions, when European Bioplastics stepped up its own statistical approach together with an independent research facility, the Institute for Biocomposites and Bioplastics (IfBB, University of Applied Arts Hanover/Germany). The aim was, to provide reliable, transparent market data giving a neutral overview close to the reality of the bioplastics market. The survey of EuBP and the IfBB comprises data regarding production capacities (actual and announced) of bioplastic worldwide. 115 manufacturers, which play a significant role on the market concerning production capacities, were identified. The current statistics comprise the data of 70 manufacturers from 19 countries and 87 material types. Still, all relevant market players are accounted for, and the survey gives an indicative overview of the market situation. In order to account for the volatility of the market, a conservative approach was taken for the accumulation and assessment of the data. EuBP defines bioplastics as biobased, biodegradable or both. The published statistics consider novel and upcoming bioplastics, which is the market the association is representing and whose growth is explained. Traditional materials such as rubber, but also established cellulose derivatives and regenerates in their long familiar applications are not included. To ensure a welldefined scope of the data, precursors and intermediates (like for thermosets) were not included. This results in a strong focus on thermoplastic materials. Functional biomass polymers like WPC were excluded for the same reason as starch-filled polyolefines. In contrast, blends based on plastified starch, in which the polysaccharide does not only act as filling material, were considered. The relatively short reference period from 2011 to 2016 was chosen, as market activities are subject to variations, and a broader timeframe would decrease the validity of the resulting data. At the end of 2012, no announcements for production capacities that went beyond 2016 were known of. If production capacities are announced for a later date (e.g. middle of the year), capacities are partially calculated based on the facility’s total capacity. The total amount is then counted for in the year to follow. The method of counting production capacities per manufacturer inevitably leads to double counting. Therefore, functional components are subtracted from blends to obtain a realistic assessment of the total market volume. This concerns e.g. for PLA or starch, blended with e.g. PBAT. To give a correct projection of the realistic production development of a facility, the following assumptions were made: For all those interested in European Bioplastics’ methodology the following link provides more information: Production capacity development Production capacity Linear regression Logistic regression 2010 2011 1 2012 2 2013 2014 2015 3 2016 4 2017 Announcement of production start (logistic 1 / linear 2 ) Expected point of full capacity (linear 3 / logistic 4 ) Capacity growth of < 10,000 t/a: Forward projection of announced capacities Capacity growth 10,000 – 50,000 t/a: Equalisation and growth function (linear regression): f(x)=m∙x+b Capacity growth of > 50,000 t/a: Equalisation and growth function (logistic regression): Scope of considered materials in the bioplastics statistics (EuBP/IfBB) Biodegradable Material group Abbreviation Cellulose derivatives 1 Regenerated cellulose 2 Other biodegradable polyesters PBAT, PBS, PCL Polyhydroxyalkanoates PHA Polylactic acid incl. blends PLA, PLA-Blends Starch blends (biodegradable) Biobased, durable Material group Abbreviation Polyamide Bio-PA Polypropylene 3 Bio-PP Polyethylene Bio-PE Polyurethane Bio-PUR Polyethylene terephthalate 4 Bio-PET Thermoplastic elastomers Bio-TPE Polycarbonates 6 Bio-PC Polyethylenefuranoate 7 PEF 1 Cellulose ester only 2 Hydrated cellulose foils certified to be compostable (in packaging segment). 3 At the time of publication, bio-PP was in its development stage. 4 Bio-PET 30: Considered to be 30 % biobased, bio-PET 100: Considered to be 100 % biobased. 5 Excluding starch filled polyolefins. 6 At the time of publication, bio-polycarbonate was in its development stage. 7 At the time of publication, bio-PEF was in its development stage. 64 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/13] Vol. 8

ioplastics MAGAZINE [03/13] Vol. 8 65

bioplastics MAGAZINE ePaper