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

Image

DuPont investing $100 million for more ethylene copolymer capacity

September 16, 2014 1:51 pm ET

Increased packaging demand is leading materials giant DuPont Co. to spend more than $100 million to increase capacity for ethylene copolymers at its...    More

Image

Latvian plastics recycler Nordic Plast boosts capacity

September 16, 2014 10:15 am ET

Latvian plastics waste recycler Nordic Plast Ltd. has invested more than 2.5 million euros ($3.2 million) to expand capacity and modernize production ...    More

Image

Toy supplier sues maker in reshoring fight

September 15, 2014 3:18 pm ET

An Arkansas toy supplier is suing a Taiwan-based manufacturer for breach of contract and other civil allegations in a legal dispute that not only...    More

Image

ZF finalizes deal to buy TRW, creating another global auto supply giant

September 15, 2014 1:09 pm ET

TRW Automotive Holdings, in a supply chain megadeal that has been in the works since mid-July, said Sept. 15 it has agreed to be acquired by German...    More

Image

Sabic, Chinese Academy of Sciences sign five-year development agreement

September 15, 2014 11:54 am ET

Ties between one of the world's biggest oil producers and one of its biggest consumers grew tighter Sept. 12 with the announcement of a five-year agre...    More

Market Reports

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events