Polylactic Acid Market Size
The global Polylactic acid market size is poised to grow at a CAGR of 18.5% to reach USD 7.6 billion by 2032 from the current USD 1.4 billion primarily driven by government s initiatives to promote the use of biodegradable polymer, ban on single use plastics and increasing consumer awareness on use of sustainable and eco-friendly solutions.
Polylactic acid (PLA) is one of the most important biodegradable thermoplastics which is compostable and completely recyclable. It is derived from lactic acid and is mostly produced from sugar beet, wheat, maize, sugar cane and other starch rich and renewable products. The product has excellent tensile strength and modulus of elasticity like PET. Major thermoforming applications of PLA are for packaging uses in the food industry, mostly disposable tableware articles like glasses, drinking cups, straws, food plates and containers. PLA is also used to make bottles for detergents and beverages. Injection molding and roto moulding applications of PLA include industrial machines and in automotive parts. It is also used to make cutlery items. Other small applications include agricultural sectors as films and bags. Fiber and non-woven applications include biodegradable one-use fabric articles such as blanket, disposable garments, carpets, hygiene products, and diapers. Emerging uses of PLA include 3D printing where it is used a filament for 3D printers.
Global Polylactic Acid Demand- Supply Analysis, 2016-2032 (Kilo Tons)
Polylactic Acid Capacity
The global Polylactic acid production capacity in 2022 was estimated to over 700 kilo tons, with global demand of over 490 kilo tons in the same period. The global operating rates have varied from 62% - 72% between 2016 and 2022. However, with a number of capacities addition announced in China in the coming years, the global Polylactic acid operating rates are forecast to reach 60% by 2032. Natureworks, Total Corbion, BIOTEC GMBH, Henan Longdu Tianren Biomaterials Co., Ltd, Shenzhen eSUN Industrial Co., Ltd., Shanghai Tongjie Liang Biomaterials Co., Guanghua Weiye, Hengtian Yangtze River, Shandong Golden Corn Biochemical Co., Ltd., Zhejiang HiSun Biomaterials Company Limited, and Shandong Hongda Biotech are some of the leading Polylactic acid producers in the world. Natureworks and Total Corbion are the biggest Polylactic acid producer in the world together producing more than 220 kilo tons of Polylactic acid.
Global Polylactic Acid Demand Analysis, By Application, 2022 (Kilo tons)
Polylactic Acid Demand, by Application
Packaging application dominates the global Polylactic acid market and it is estimated to be one of the fastest growing applications for during the forecast period. The sector accounts for more than 60% of the global PLA market in 2022 and it is further projected to grow at an annual average of 17% between 2023-2032. With certain set of standards and certification procedure for PLA, along with the growing influence of regulatory and environmental protection agencies in most of the major countries of the world, the use of PLA to make bottles, containers, blister packaging expected to continue its upward trend in the coming years. Packaging has shown a higher growth than the GDP of most of the countries around the world. With expected high growth in the Asian packaging industry due to growing industrialization and purchasing habits in the region, the global packaging market is expected to witness fast growth during the forecast period.
Consumer goods application that include containers, fast-food tableware, food box, toys, egg cartons, bottles, 3D printing, toys, etc. is second biggest consumer of accounting for around 20% of the global Polylactic acid demand. The application is further projected to witness strong growth of 16% in the forecast period. Several multinational consumer goods manufacturing companies have announced or declared intentions to switch to biodegradable plastic material in the forecast period, which will drive the demand for PLA in consumer goods applications. PLA market is expected to grow strongly especially in countries with large population such as China, Japan, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam. Further the increase in living standards and increasing purchasing power among consumers due to economic growth will keep the regional biodegradable plastics demand high. Asia has historically witnessed healthy growth rates in demand mainly driven by the burgeoning economy of China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and others.
Global Polylactic Acid Demand Analysis, By Region, 2022 (Kilo tons)
Polylactic Acid Demand, By Region
Asia-Pacific is the largest PLA producer in the world with installed capacity of more than 490 kilo tons in 2022, accounting for around 70% of the global Polylactic acid capacity. The region accounted for around 60% of global PLA demand and is projected to cross 1600 kilo tons by 2032 with an annual growth rate of 18% between 2022-2032. Polylactic acid market is expected to grow strongly especially in countries with large population such as China, Japan, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam. Further the increase in living standards and increasing purchasing power among consumers due to economic growth will keep the regional biodegradable plastics demand high. Asia has historically witnessed healthy growth rates in PLA demand mainly driven by the burgeoning economy of China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and others. With increasing demand of PLA from China and other South-East Asian countries owing to various incentives, stimuli as well as higher demand from China, Taiwan, and Japan. In the long-term forecast, the demand growth for PLA in the region is estimated to grow on accounts of increased growth from packaging and other consumer good applications.
The Western European countries decision to reduce the consumption of conventional thin film plastic bags significantly will also push for production of more biodegradable bags thereby increasing the demand for biodegradable plastics like PLA. With new investment in PLA thermoplastics sector globally along with industries like packaging and manufacturing that are shifting their base to Asian countries, the demand of Polylactic acid in these sectors will increase during the long-term.
Polylactic Acid Average Prices USD per ton (2016-2022)
Polylactic Acid Average Price
The average Polylactic acid prices were around $3040-3210 per ton in 2022. This was a increase of almost 4% from the previous year, when the PLA prices ware around $2940-3100 per ton. The increase in PLA prices was due to several factors, including, COVID-19 pandemic, global economic conditions, and government policies. The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an impact on the average trade prices of PLA. However, the demand for Polylactic acid in the packaging industry has remained strong throughout the pandemic, as consumers increasingly prefer eco-friendly packaging material.
Polylactic Acid Demand Driver
The Polylactic Acid market has been growing at a steady pace over the years but shift in preferences of the end users has been observed in many regions like Europe. Long term impact of plastic on the environment has been deemed to be fatal, and substitutes for the currently used products are being pushed forward. While usage of polyethylene based agricultural sheets is prevalent in the market, bans on usage of single usage plastics has shown adverse impacts on the market. Increase in governmental regulations for usage of these non-degradable films has been increasing. Owing to these changes in preferences and regulations, top manufacturers in the market have been working to introduce biodegradable Polylactic Acid. Companies has been investing in research of new alternatives as well as investments in increasing portfolio have been observed in market. Companies like Berry Global and BASF SE are on the forefront of these developments. Growing interest in sustainability goals have led to increase in investments in biodegradable Polylactic Acid and bioplastics, which is expected to bring significant change in the Polylactic Acid market.