BioPlastics Growth Continues to be Stifled by Cost – and Creativity

genarex Blog

Source: Plastics News – Speakers: PLA draws interest, but reality limits growth
At the recent China International Biobased Technology and Partnering Conference, speakers continued to bemoan the pragmatism that has continued to slow growth in sustainable plastics. Polylactic Acid was specifically cited as being a limiting item, as the low cost of replacement materials such as oil-based polyolefins continued to hinder entry for PLA into many markets.

Supply of raw materials appears to be one limiting factor, however with a global supply of only 300,000 metric tons by 2020 forecasted, there is no doubt that the manufacturers of precursor materials have yet to create volume sufficient to combat the huge volumes offered by petrochemical manufacturers.

There are solutions available for converters and OEM’s willing to think outside the box. Low cost, biobased fillers such as thermoplastic starches and BYLOX HT can meet the needs of both durable and compostable products depending on polymer architecture and product needs. These additives can often serve as resin extenders, or become even more functional. In the case of BYLOX HT, PLA has been shown to see a significant increase in impact performance with just a 10% addition, while also enjoying a comfortable reduction in cost without needing special processing considerations.

Customers who look at PLA or other bioplastics as simple material replacements for the unprecedentedly affordable petrochemical products are in for a rude awakening. Fortunately, creative engineers and marketers who are willing to incorporate these cutting edge composites can enjoy a solution that gives them very sharp pricing, enhanced performance, and carve out their own new spaces in the hotly competitive plastics space.

Find out more about incorporating low-cost, value added materials to sustainable plastics at www.genarex.com.