Bio-based Materials

Decarbonization Avenue : Bio-based Materials

Plastics are derived from crude oil, and thus inherently incorporate carbon. In addition, plastics pose significant disposal problems and other post-life management challenges.

Compared to oil-based plastics, bioplastics have a lower carbon footprint as they are derived from renewable and bio resources. In addition, some of them are biodegradable. Bioplastics are thus both a low carbon and low pollution alternative.

About 2.5 million tons of bioplastics are produced every year, with about 50% of it being biodegradable bioplastics. Bioplastics currently however constitute a small percentage of the 350 million tons per year plastics market, but the 2020-2030 period could see significant growth in this sector.

Biodegradable plastics are dominated by PLA, which is produced from sources such as corn. Starch-based bioplastics (PHA and PHB) are the other prominent biodegradable bioplastics category. Durable bioplastics come in the form of BioPET, BioPE, Bio-polyurethane and bio-based polyamide (nylon). 

Technologies are emerging to make bioplastics perform as well as their equivalent fossil plastic counterparts. However, two challenges remain: One, the standards and benchmarks for bioplastics are still evolving and the end user segment is thus not fully confident of using bioplastics for many large-applications. Two, the cost of many bioplastic resins are much higher than their comparable or equivalent conventional plastic resins (about 3x in 2020).

For the 2020-2030 period, innovations in bioplastics and biopolymers can expected around bio-based plastics for enhancing the performance of many types of biodegradable bioplastics, industrial bioplastics & biopolymers, a focus on bio-PET & bio-based foodware, biodegradable polymer additives, and enhancing the recycling infrastructure for bioplastics.

Industries impacted

  • Agriculture & farming
  • Automobiles & auto components
  • Chemicals & petrochemicals
  • Construction & real estate
  • Consumer durables
  • Fast moving consumer goods
  • Food & beverages
  • Oil & gas
  • Packaging & plastics
  • Paper & forest products
  • Textile & apparel
  • Waste management

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Themes & Topics

  • Types of bioplastics

    • PLA

    • PHA

    • PBAT

    • PC

    • BioPET

    • BioPE

    • Polyamide

    • PU

    • Hybrid of bioplastics & other sustainable materials

  • Better cost & performance

    • Reducing raw material costs for bioplastics

    • Bioplastics from agriculture & farm waste

    • Reducing the polymerization cost for bioplastics production

    • Better cost & performance for starch based plastics

    • Bioplastic compounds for better cost & performance








  • Performance

    • Biodegradability

    • Thermal properties

    • Moisture properties

    • Mechanical properties

    • Color & appearance

    • Recyclability

  • Specific applications

    • Food & beverages

    • Textiles

    • Agriculture

    • Electronics

    • Industrial and engineering applications

    • Automotive, aviation & shipping

    • Buildings

    • Flexible packaging

  • End of life

    • Recycling & reuse

  • Education & training

  • Machinery & technology

  • Economics

  • Policies

  • Case studies