Leandro Martín Olmos | Aug 21, 2023 | 0
Production of bioplastics will triple by 2027 and reach 6.3 million tonnes
- Global bioplastic production will triple in the next five years and reach 6.3 million tonnes, compared to 2.2 million tonnes in 2022, according to representatives from European Bioplastics speaking at the AIMPLAS International Seminar on Biopolymers and Sustainable Composites
- Around 200 people attended the seminar to discuss this industry’s challenges and opportunities, and also to learn about the industry’s main innovations and success stories
03.03.2023 – ENGLISH
AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, inaugurated the eighth edition of its International Seminar on Biopolymers and Sustainable Composites yesterday, where nearly 20 speakers discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the bioplastics industry, and presented their innovations and success stories.
Worldwide production of bioplastics is currently 2.2 million tonnes. However, as Constance Ißbrücker from European Bioplastics said, this figure is expected to triple and reach 6.3 million tonnes by 2027. The applications expected to show the most growth are related to agriculture, which now accounts for 4% of total production, but is expected to increase to 5%.
European Commission representative Theodora Nikolakopoulou highlighted Europe’s concern for protecting farmland and said that from July 2026 it will be mandatory for all controlled-action fertilizers marketed in Europe to be biodegradable. Elena Domínguez, an agricultural researcher at AIMPLAS and technical coordinator of the seminar, explained how AIMPLAS is advising the European Commission about the criteria that these kinds of applications should meet in order to guarantee their status as biodegradable products.
Jordi Simón, from Asobiocom, described compostable applications and highlighted the importance of restricting their use to applications in which bioplastics contribute value, maintain product functionality and provide end-of-life-related benefits by improving sustainability and reducing environmental impact.
The second block, on standardizations and certifications, was moderated by Johana Andrade, a researcher at the AIMPLAS Biodegradability and Composting Laboratory and technical coordinator of the Seminar. Andrade discussed the importance of standardizations and certifications when communicating the advantages of bioplastics to ensure that they are used appropriately and that their end of life is managed properly and the anticipated environmental benefits are obtained. At the round-table discussion, positive results were provided of compostable plastics in real composting cases at industrial plants, where it was verified that complete biodegradation took place and that quality compost was obtained with a reduction in unidentified waste.
Innovations and Success Stories
Companies along the entire value chain demonstrated their innovations in materials and products at the seminar. Participants gained firsthand knowledge on everything from additives that improve biopolymer processability and compatibility to water bottles made of recycled PLA that have the same properties and quality as virgin material. They even saw pyrotechnic devices for air shows made of bioplastic by blown-film extrusion and a whole range of compostable containers, closures and bottles that can be processed by conventional machinery and have the same properties as traditional plastics.
AIMPLAS also presented the results of some of its projects for the packaging industry, such as biodegradable barrier packaging from food waste, plastic film obtained from coffee waste, active packaging to extend the shelf life of cheese made from cheese industry waste, and cartridges for 3D food printing. For the agricultural sector, AIMPLAS presented natural paints to control citrus mealybug infestations in the field and foams for hydroponic crops made from poultry industry feather waste, as well as a compostable cardboard-like product made from the waste from pruning and pressing the vine crop.
The second day sessions focused on success stories and included a session on the environmental impact of bioplastics in open environments from the perspective of farmland and the marine environment, which brought the seminar to a close.
At AIMPLAS, we help companies apply circular economy criteria to their business models and turn the legislative changes that affect the plastics industry into opportunities to improve company efficiency, reduce environmental impact and increase profitability. AIMPLAS also does research in areas such as recycling, biodegradable materials and products, and the use of biomass and CO2 with the aim of developing innovative solutions that help solve current environmental challenges.