The wide versatility of the use of plastics in bags and sacks and their inadequate disposal have added to the vastly rising pollution problem of traditional, petroleum-based plastics world over. Made from a variety of all-natural plant materials such as polylactic acids (PLAs), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), and corn, biodegradable bags and sacks also contain additives to facilitate degradation and hence pose lesser impact on the ecology in general and marine life in particular. These bags are being preferred over conventional plastic products, notably for the food packaging and fast-moving consumer goods. Furthermore, the use of biodegradable plastics is found to be promising in addressing the problem of plastics pollution in several developed and emerging countries, which is expected to catalyze the growth of the market.
The various types of materials used in making biodegradable plastic bags and sacks are PLA, PHA, and starch blends. Of these, the PHA material segment dominates the market, holding a major share of 35.9% in 2017. The segment is projected to rise from a valuation of US$565.5 Mn to reach US$788.7 Mn by the end of 2022, representing a share of 36.1% of the market. The PHA segment is estimated to expand at a CAGR of 6.9% during 2017–2022.
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The annual growth of the segment is pegged at US$44.7 Mn over 2017–2022, representing an absolute growth greater than all other material segments. The dominant adoption of polyhydroxyalkanoates is attributed to their better degradability and the possibility of a wide variety of their applications in making biodegradable plastic bags and sacks. In addition, blending them with polymers has been proven to be cost-effective for manufacturers, which is likely to bolster their uptake.
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The major regional markets for biodegradable plastic bags and sacks are North America, the Middle East and Africa (MEA), Latin America, Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ), Japan, and Europe. Of these, Europe leads the pack currently and is likely to retain its dominance in the coming years as well. The prominence of this regional market is attributed to the extensive demand for eco-friendly and recyclable plastic packaging for industrial applications.