Bio-based materials may encounter its first-phase development

Publish time: 14th July, 2014      Source: CCM
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  The preference to biodegradable materials from the outer market directly stimulates the development of the biodegradable plastics. Bio-based materials may encounter its first-phase development.

  Profit is the strongest engine for the enterprises’ revolution. As the petro-based plastic packaging is of low cost and high acceptance, most plastic packaging manufacturers produce these petro-based products in large quantities. Comparatively, due to the high prices, biodegradable materials are passively promoted by the manufacturers, resulting in the relatively low acceptance. Since the EU restricts the imports of products with traditional nondegradable packaging, a large quantity of traditional petro-based plastic packaging will be abandoned or substituted by the bio degradable materials. Involved in this situation, the traditional plastic manufacturers have to bear the high costs of bio-based materials and use them to produce the degradable plastics.

  However, Yantai’s exported products to the EU countries almost include all the foodstuff and agricultural processing industries in the city, adding more pressure to the traditional plastic manufacturers involved in high production cost of biodegradable plastics and even burying them in an unfavorable situation. Therefore, with the development of trading business of biodegradable plastic products, the scale production and development of biodegradable materials with low costs will become a necessity in the industry. However, so far, most of the domestic manufacturers engaged in the environmental-friendly packaging materials are small- and medium-sized enterprises, who are not capable to develop new environmental-friendly packaging materials. As a result, it is not realistic to completely push forward the development of biodegradable materials only by market demand. At the preliminary stage, this market demand could only lead the traditional plastic manufacturers to take the initiatives to produce the bio degradable materials.

  In fact, after years’ development and innovation in technology, the price gap between biodegradable materials and traditional petro-based degradable material has been narrowed. For example, the prices of polylactic acid (PLA), starch-based and chitosan plastics are only 10% higher than the traditional petro-based materials; even the prices of modified bio-based materials are just about 20% higher than the similar traditional petro-based products. Furthermore, with the continuously increasing price of petroleum, the prices of these two kinds of products are becoming closer and closer. Thus, the price is not the obstacle for the manufacturers to develop bio-based materials. Nowadays, the market demand for petro-based plastics is still very strong. Even though the profit becomes low due to the price war among the numerous players in the market, the plastic manufacturers are not willing to abandon the traditional production lines and make determination to shift their focus to the production of biodegradable plastics. This time, the traditional petro-based plastic packaging is abandoned by the EU market due to the new policies, which may create opportunities for the first-phase development of biodegradable materials.