Bioplastics: China's unrealized potential

Charlotte Eyre
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: April 17, 2013 12:30 pm ET
Updated: April 17, 2013 12:33 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, China

AMSTERDAM — Despite being the largest consumer of plastics in the world, China's bioplastics potential is woefully neglected, according to a speaker at the Renewable Plastics conference taking place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Bruno Rudnik, managing owner of Germany-based SusTech Consult, which promotes cleantech solutions in emerging markets, said that far too many plastics processing firms in China have nothing to do with bioplastics.

Comparing China with Thailand, one of the world's leaders when it comes to bioplastics, Rudnik said: "China is the No. 1 plastics consumer but still has a very small bioplastics market, yet it is 20 times the size of Thailand in terms of population, has a greater GDP and chemical demand is 50 times greater."

SusTech Consult this year conducted a survey of more than 100 plastics processing companies in the country to examine their attitude towards bioplastics. Out of those questioned, 75 percent were locally owned and 25 percent were joint ventures with foreign companies.

A massive 95 percent of those surveyed said they had no dealings with bioplastics and all ranked biomaterials as less important than recycling, energy efficiency or hazard-free materials.

When asked why they had not used bioplastics, 38 percent blamed high material prices but 18 percent — nearly a fifth — said they didn't know anything about them.

"This confirms what we've been seeing and hearing from people on the field," said Rudnik. "They don't feel they are being approached by western material suppliers."

Nearly half of the respondents (47 percent) said that stricter legal regulations would encourage them to look at bioplastics but many do not see bioplastics becoming popular in the local market any time soon. Only 4 percent said bioplastics would account for more than 5 percent of plastics use in China in the next five years. A massive 78 percent predicted a longer 6-10 year time-frame.

"We doubt China is going to become a big production area [for bioplastics] but the key takeaway message is that China needs to be educated, especially the strong brand owners," said Rodnik.

During the conference Rodnik also said the plastics industry needs to be aware of the heterogeneous nature of the Asian bioplastics market.

"For example Thailand is a large grower of feedstocks and is the world's second largest exporter of sugar," he said. "Japan, on the other hand, has a large R&D cluster looking at bioplastics use but is not really a grower of feedstocks."


Comments

Bioplastics: China's unrealized potential

Charlotte Eyre
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: April 17, 2013 12:30 pm ET
Updated: April 17, 2013 12:33 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Two Eastman buildings among 10 biggest energy savers in national contest

April 22, 2014 11:35 am ET

Two offices at the headquarters of Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport, Tenn., ranked in the Top 10 for energy efficiency in the latest Energy Star...    More

Image

Material Insights: Shell Chemical meets with residents

April 21, 2014 2:16 pm ET

Power outage at a PE plant and the return of a PVC feedstock plant after a fire on this week's Material Insights.    More

DuPont: Asia's food packaging market at a major transition point

April 21, 2014 1:26 pm ET

DuPont Co. touted its packaging innovations and applications, and updated the firm's commercial status at a media event two days before the Chinaplas ...    More

Officials warn China's PVC overcapacity will only get worse

April 21, 2014 3:47 pm ET

Despite worsening overcapacity, China still imports a million tons of PVC.    More

Global plastics recycling industry seeing an impact from the 'Green Fence'

April 21, 2014 12:52 pm ET

Last year's Green Fence action by the Chinese government is having a lasting impact on the global plastics recycling industry, said many of the attend...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events