Skip To Content

Biodegradable plastic a growing trend in Europe

August 30, 2016

Europe has always been a trend-setter when it comes to all things “green,” environmentally-speaking. So news that the consumption of biodegradable and compost-able plastic products in Europe is expected to increase 300% from 2015 to 2020 should be taken very seriously indeed by the plastic powers-that-be stateside.  While plastic recycling is regarded as the height of environmental responsibility here, plastic products or containers that biodegrade, or can be added to a garden compost pile, are all the rage across the pond.

Already, two-thirds of all plastic products in the European Union market are compost-able bags, mainly used for shopping or the collection of bio-waste.  The latest numbers show that 100,000 metric tons of bio-degradable bags were produced in the EU in 2015, but market demand is expected to grow to around 300,000 tons in 2020.The latest news drew upon statistics related to the consumption of biodegradable polymers such as poly-lactic acid (PLA) or starch-based plastics by product, country and polymer type. Data was collected and analyzed from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Scandinavia.

Compost-able plastic bags dominated the market for biodegradable plastics in Europe.  However, the intricacies and composting/recycling infrastructure of individual European Union member states were found to be either the main obstacle or the major impetus for market development.  For example, if Austria favored compost-able plastic bags over simply biodegradable ones, then the former would be produced and marketed more heavily in that country.  Conversely, if the UK favored biodegradable products over compost-able plastics, well then, those are the plastics that would get produced in that country.

But it isn’t just bags that are being produced: researchers also found that a variety of bio-based PLA cups and containers used for service and retail packaging were being sold in sizable quantities.

PLA is used for a wide range of applications, everything from non-woven fiber products or apparel, to beverage bottles and packaging foams.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *