The biodegradable plastics industry chain is divided into three parts: design and key raw materials, biodegradable plastic products, and the application of biodegradable plastics. Among them, PLA and PBAT are the main development directions of degradable materials in the future. Representative enterprises of China's degradable plastics industry chain are distributed in Shandong, Anhui, Guangdong, Jiangsu and other regions, but the production scale of enterprises is generally small, and the market concentration needs to be improved.
Overview of the industrial chain of degradable plastics: PLA and PBAT are the main development direction of degradable materials in the future.
The upstream of the industrial chain of degradable plastics is the production of raw materials. According to the source of raw materials, raw materials are roughly divided into bio-based plastics and petroleum-based plastics. Among them, the basic raw materials of bio-based plastics (such as starch based plastics, PLA, PHA, etc.) are renewable natural biomass resources such as starch (such as corn, potato, etc.), plant straw, chitin, etc., while petroleum-based plastics (such as PBAT, PCL, PBS, PGA, etc.) are formed from petrochemical products as monomer. The middle stream of the biodegradable plastic industry chain is the production of biodegradable plastic products, which include disposable tableware, disposable plastic bags, wrapping paper, clothing, agricultural film, 3D printing materials, medical materials, etc. The downstream of the industrial chain is the application of degradable plastics, including packaging, electronics, automotive & transportation, consumer goods, textiles, agriculture, coatings, 3D printing, modern medicine, architecture & construction, etc. In recent years, Europe, the United States, Japan and other developed countries and regions have formulated and introduced relevant laws and regulations to restrict the use of non-degradable plastics through local prohibition, restriction, compulsory collection and pollution tax, and vigorously develop new biodegradable materials to protect the environment and soil. From 2019 to 2020, many countries in Asia have also issued plastic restriction policies, including China, Pakistan, India, Philippines, Thailand, Algeria and other countries. In the coming period, the demand for biodegradable plastics in Asia will grow rapidly. PLA and PBAT are the main development directions of degradable materials in the future. PLA is one of the most common degradable plastics. The production process is pollution-free, and the product can be degraded into carbon dioxide and water with no impact on the environment. PLA also has reliable biosafety, biodegradability, good mechanical properties and easy processing, and is widely used in packaging, textile industry, agricultural mulch and biomedical polymer industries. PBAT is a thermoplastic degradable plastic with good ductility and elongation at break, as well as good heat resistance and impact performance. Due to its good film forming performance and easy film blowing, PBAT is widely used in the field of disposable packaging film and agricultural film. PBAT has a lower cost of petroleum-based materials, more mature technology and less investment intensity. Combined with the nature, application field and production cost of PBAT, it is expected to become the largest category of degradable plastics in the future.
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