Global bio-based polyethylene market is projected to gain remarkable traction over 2021-2027, given the growing emphasis on the use of compostable plastics, alongside the escalating adoption of bio-PE as a versatile packaging material. In addition, the emergence of bio-based materials as an eco-friendly alternative to conventional plastic material to help reduce fossil fuel consumption will also proliferate industry growth in the upcoming years. Bioplastics refer to plastics derived from renewable raw materials of animal and plant origin. Bio-derived polyethylene is made from various feedstocks such as sugar cane, rice, corn, wheat, potatoes, and vegetable oil. It offers a range of advantages, including being 100% recyclable and carbon positive, thus gaining widespread usage in packaging and other end-use industries.
Strong focus on the deployment of sustainable packaging and the global race towards net-zero carbon emission are some of the prominent trends shaping the bio-based polyethylene market outlook through 2021-2027. SABIC, for example, expanded the reach of its renewable PE and PP resins from its TRUCIRCLE portfolio to Beiersdorf, with an aim to advance sustainable cosmetics packaging and to reduce fossil fuel depletion and GHG emissions. Moreover, the implementation of stringent rules and regulations regarding the use of single-use plastics to curb pollution will further amplify bio polyethylene production worldwide.
With regards to end-user industry, the personal care segment will hold a considerable share in the bio-based polyethylene industry by 2027, which can be credited to the rising focus on self-care amid coronavirus lockdown. High spending on digital technology and the increase in sales of cosmetics and personal care products through e-Commerce channels will boost the need for sustainable packaging options, in turn expediting bio-polyethylene resins demand from this end-user industry over the foreseeable future.
Asia Pacific is expected to emerge as a lucrative revenue pocket for the bio-based polyethylene market by 2027, considering the burgeoning pharmaceutical sector in developing economies. Given the usage of bio-based PE colorants and compounds in pharma and medical applications, the surge in pharma exports will generate opportunities for regional market growth. Furthermore, the mounting production of beauty products in countries like South Korea is also anticipated to act as a major factor stimulating industry dynamics in the region.
Key players operating in the global bio-based polyethylene industry include Sojitz Corporation, Neste, The Dow Chemical Company, Plantic Technologies Ltd., SABIC, Sealed Air, Avery Dennison, Braskem (Petrobras, Novonor), and LyondellBasell, among others. These market participants are implementing strategies such as mergers and acquisitions, business expansions, and new product launches to reinforce their footprint across the global market.
For instance, in September 2021, Braskem inked an MoU with SCG Chemicals for the joint investment in a new bio-ethanol dehydration facility in Thailand to produce I’m green bio-based polyethylene and bio-ethylene. In May 2021, Neste, Toyota Tsusho Corp., and Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. joined forces to boost the industrial-scale production of renewable chemicals and plastics, including polyethylene, from 100% bio-based hydrocarbons.
Decline in Agricultural Product Sales During COVID-19 to Impact Bio-based Polyethylene Market Trends:
The agriculture industry, the only sector to clock a 3.4% growth during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, bore witness to severe impacts of the second wave of the outbreak. This disruption was expected mainly due to the decline in sales as well as supply chain issues, related to the transport of products from primary to secondary and bigger markets. Factors such as these could create roadblocks to the steady growth of the bio-based polyethylene industry, on account of the utilization of this material in products like agricultural mulch films.
However, the dramatic increase in pet adoption during the pandemic and the subsequent rise in demand for sustainable packaging for pet foods may impel the need for bio-PE materials. As per a Rover.com survey, 35% of the pet parents showed preference towards eco-friendly pet products, thereby generating opportunities for the industry to grow exponentially over the foreseeable future.