The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland, OH-based industry market research firm, rightly notes that the degradable plastic industry “has been on the verge of commercial success for decades.” However, limitations such as their expense, lack of availability in large quantities, and performance drawbacks kept them lagging behind petroleum-based resins and limited to niche markets. This situation began to change in the early 2000s, as OEMs, retailers, and consumer groups became more interested in environmentally friendly products.
“At the same time, the availability of biodegradable plastics increased significantly due to expansions by key producers,” says the recently released report. The result is that U.S. demand for degradable plastics is forecast to rise 16.6% per year to 325 million lb in 2014, valued at $380 million. PLA and starch-based plastics currently dominate the markets, and both are expected to see strong growth. PLA will experience faster gain...