Bio-based Unsaturated Polyethylene Market: Substitute for Conventional Polyethylene

  • Polyethylene is a widely used resin across the world, owing to its versatility, easy processing ability, and lower cost of production. It is made of petroleum feedstock; thus, it can act as a potential health hazard while burning. The reserves for the oil shale are decreasing due to the increase in extraction rate of fossil fuels for the manufacturing of polymers, is expected to adversely affect the resources in the near future. This is anticipated to boost the demand for bio-based products in the near future.
  • Bio-based unsaturated polyethylene is produced by processing of starch, vegetable oils, and sugarcane. Bio-based unsaturated polyethylene products are obtained from microorganisms. These microorganisms can be disposed and are eco-friendly. Therefore, they are used for packaging applications, including bottles and bags.
  • Bio-based unsaturated polyethylene has various advantages over conventional polyethylene. These include less pollution and reduction in energy consumption during processing by approximately 70%.

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  • Substitution of conventional polyethylene with bio-based unsaturated polyethylene does not require investments in the plastics manufacturing machinery
  • The global bio-based unsaturated polyethylene market can be segmented based on end-use into food & beverages, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, personal care, and others (including homecare). Of these, food & beverages is anticipated to be the major segment of the market during the forecast period.

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Drivers of Global Bio-based Unsaturated Polyethylene Market

  • Increase in awareness about environmental issues and manufacturers’ shift toward the development of bio-based unsaturated polyethylene materials for packaging application are expected to create lucrative opportunities for the bio-based unsaturated polyethylene market
  • The global bio-based unsaturated polyethylene market has been expanding due to the implementation of stringent rules and regulations on polyethylene and environmental pollution
  • Bio-based products require less energy. They also release less amount of greenhouse gases. Thus, they are expected to replace conventional polyethylene in the long run.
  • In 2002, the Government of Bangladesh announced a complete ban on polyethylene plastic bags. The ban was imposed, as plastic bags choke the drainage system. Choking of the drainage system resulted in a deadly flood in 1989. Thus, the Government introduced a ban on all shopping bags made of polyethylene. It also promoted a campaign, wherein it informed citizens that offenders could face fines and six months in jail after the implementation of the ban.
  • In 2011, Yangon, a city in Myanmar, banned the production, storage, and sale of polyethylene bags across the city
  • In 1994, Denmark became the first country to levy a tax on the usage of polyethylene. Since the introduction of the tax, the usage of polyethylene bags dropped from 800 million to approximately 400 million bags per year.
  • Ireland began levying tax on usage plastic bags in 2002. The country experienced a 90% reduction in use of polyethylene bags following the ban. The European Union has set a goal to reduce the use of plastic bags by 80% by 2019. In 2014, California implemented a ban on plastic bags.
  • In 2009, Argentina banned the use of polyethylene bags in Córdoba, Spain
  • In 2009, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil stated to substitute polyethylene and polypropylene bags with the alternatives. If the substitution is not carried out, then the government is likely to take back any quantity of plastic bags from any source. The government body would be responsible for proper disposal of these bags and in turn compensate the people by giving them a discount.

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Lack of Awareness and Low Production Capacity of Bio-Based Unsaturated Polyethylene to Hamper Market

  • Currently, the production capacity of bio-based unsaturated polyethylene is significantly lower than that of conventional plastics. This is anticipated to hamper the substitution potential and increases the prices of final products. Furthermore, price consideration is expected to be the primary factor hampering the bio-based unsaturated polyethylene.
  • Bio-based unsaturated polyethylene is not being commercialized on larger scale. Just a few manufacturers operate in this market. This is likely to hamper the bio-based unsaturated polyethylene market during the forecast period. 

Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Europe Expected to Hold Major Share of Global Bio-based Unsaturated Polyethylene Market

  • Geographically, the global bio-based unsaturated polyethylene market can be split across five regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa
  • Increase in government initiatives and rise in investments in bio-based products in countries in Asia Pacific are key factors propelling the demand for bio-based unsaturated polyethylene in the region
  • Manufacturers in Europe are focusing on improving production process and extensive research & development in terms of product properties. Companies operating in the region are primarily focused on launching new products and entering into extensive mergers & acquisitions to gain higher share of the market.
  • The bio-based unsaturated polyethylene market in Latin America is expected to expand at a rapid pace, owing to the presence of large manufacturers of sugarcane across the region. Brazil is the world’s largest manufacturer of sugarcane. The country is a key producer of ethanol. Large manufacturers operate in the region. For instance, Braskem S.A. is constantly engaged in new product development to increase its global presence.
  • Near about 16% of the energy is consumed in the Brazil to manufacture renewable resources which is derived from sugarcane. As sugarcane is used as a raw material for the production of bio-based unsaturated polyethylene, thus in turn is anticipated to drive the growth of bio-based unsaturated polyethylene market across the country. 

Key Players in Bio-based Unsaturated Polyethylene Market

The global bio-based unsaturated polyethylene market is dominated by a few players. Key players operating in the bio-based unsaturated polyethylene include: