Bioplastics industry expands as biotech seeks to curb plastic pollution

As businesses pour billions into boosting the manufacturing of plastics derived from sustainable, biodegradable resources, the bioplastics industry is flourishing, the Associated Press reports.

“Of the 9 billion tons of fossil fuel plastic produced since the 1950s, only 9% has been recycled,” the AP says.

On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic, as Good Day BIO reported earlier this month, curtailed the reduction of plastic pollution. People were using more single-use plastic in food packaging and medical supplies like gloves and masks as a way to reduce contact with the virus.

Bioplastics presently account for less than 1% of the $600 billion-plus worldwide plastic industry. However, $500 million has been invested in the bioplastics industry in Q1 of 2022, compared to $350 million in Q4 of 2021.

According to Zion Market Research, the worldwide bioplastics market had a value of $10.51 billion in 2021 and would reach $29 billion by 2028.

Biotechnology drives bioplastics industry boom

Recently, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) member Danimer Scientific extended its facility in Kentucky to rank among the world’s top manufacturers of PHA, a biodegradable material manufactured from canola oil. A factory being constructed in Iowa will manufacture bio-BDO, a green alternative for butanediol (BDO), which is used to make plastics, fibers, and solvents.

More BIO members are at the forefront of plastic innovation:

  • Geno (formerly Genomatica) produced a plant-based version of the chemical raw material HMDA (hexamethylenediamine). This material is currently produced from fossil fuels to make materials ranging from nylon to coatings and adhesives.
  • Virent makes makes biodegradable or compostable “drop-in” plastics made from recycled carbon or crop waste.
  • LanzaTech is capturing carbon from industrial emissions and fermenting it to make a sustainable raw material that lululemon is using to make athletic wear.

We may anticipate that the economic move toward bioplastics will intensify while a new international agreement to reduce plastic pollution is being prepared.

Scroll to Top