The global capacity for bioplastics is predicted to pass the one million tonne mark in 2011 and more than double from 2010 to 2015 (Ed note: A tonne is 2,204 lb, or about 10% more than the U.S. ton). That’s according to a current study presented by the industry association European Bioplastics in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Hanover at the interpack trade fair in Dusseldorf, Germany.

From a figure of around 700,000 tonnes (771,618 tons) in 2010, the production capacity for bioplastics will increase to a predicted 1.7 million tonnes by 2015. The million tonne mark is close, and will likely be passed by the bioplastics industry within this year. "The encouraging trend in production capacity allows us to assume, that the figures presented today will even be exceeded in the coming years,” explains Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics.

A further change is evident in the composition of global production volume. In 2010, the bioplastics branch primarily produced biodegradable materials, totaling around 400,000 tonnes. This ratio will be reversed in the coming years – despite overall growth.

“Our market study shows that biobased commodity plastics, with a total of around one million tonnes, will make up the majority of production capacity in 2015. Biodegradable materials will, however, also grow substantially and will reach about 700,000 tonnes by then,” says Professor Dr. (Eng.) Hans-Josef Endres of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Hanover.

Essential to this rapid growth is the swift expansion of bioplastics into an ever-increasing number of applications. From packaging to car manufacture to toys, bioplastics are in demand as never before. The strongly growing group of durable biobased bioplastics appeals strongly to the packaging market, for example. Several large brand producers such as Danone and Coca-Cola have brought products to market.

More information is available at www.european-bioplastics.org.