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

iPhone 6 supplier Jabil accused of labor violations

September 29, 2014 6:00 pm ET

The same Jabil Circuit Inc. facility in Wuxi, China that faced labor violation accusations last September just before the iPhone 5S and 5C release is ...    More

Image

Asahi Kasei breaks ground on Alabama compounding plant

September 29, 2014 5:39 pm ET

Asahi Kasei Plastics North America will be able to solve two problems at once with a new compounding plant in Athens, Ala.    More

Image

Shini pushes into western China

September 29, 2014 4:28 pm ET

Despite intellectual-property brigands, Taiwan's Shini Plastics Technologies Inc. is zestfully pursuing the enormous Chinese market for plastics...    More

Image

DuPont shifting Teflon production in China

September 29, 2014 2:35 pm ET

DuPont Co. will spend more than $15 million to improve its fluoropolymer product offerings in China.    More

Image

Sale of PVC maker Oltchim still in limbo

September 29, 2014 10:25 am ET

Fresh attempts to privatize insolvent Romanian PVC producer Oltchim SA have met with new obstacles as the European Union questioned the Romanian gover...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our industry analysis highlights macro industry trends and micro trends faced by companies that do business in Mexico. The report also provides key industry statistics and forecasts to anticipate future industry expansion.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events