The plastic industry has seen many ups and downs due to growing awareness for earth friendly substances and reusable materials that can prevent cheap grade plastics coming to our daily usages. In the recent years, most of the plastic manufacturers have shifted their focus towards producing bioplastics to adhere government regulations on plastic and of course; to project their brands as a planet friendly substance producer.
Europe was the early leader in developing plastics from renewable resources due, in part, to the depth of polymer research organizations in Germany (e.g., the Fraunhofer Institute). It is also related to the extensive involvement of green organizations in European society such as the Green Party, an influential German political organization. The Americas, however, bypassed Europe in the development of bioplastics in early 2010s because of huge agricultural production in the U.S. and Brazil as well as government support of agriculture-based chemicals, particularly ethanol.
One result was an explosion of output of bottle-grade polyesters and polyethylene from sugar-derived feedstock. Another was the enormous growth of polyurethane foams produced with soybean-based polyols used in car seats and furniture. According to the recent news, in January 2019, Samsung, one of the world’s largest producer of smartphones, announced to use bioplastic as its packaging substance for phone-based products by end of 2019. The market for bioplastics is anticipated to grow at a healthy rate of ~11% in the coming years.