Even the New Bioplastics Trash Bags Represent Much More than Business as Usual
Are you listening? ‘Bioplastics,’ in a word, now seem to have the potential to become one of the biggest business stories of the 21st century, much in the way conventional plastics has been for the past 60 years. The marketplace for biodegradable plastics is growing rapidly as American and European consumers demand sustainable, ‘green’ alternatives to traditional plastics for many common items, including food service, packaging and everyday plastic trash bags.
Bioplastics are made from renewable resources and native plant starches such as corn, tapioca, wheat and potatoes, as well as cane sugar and soy, unlike conventional plastics that are made from fossil fuels which can be harmful to health and the environment. Though still its infancy, the industry is growing fast and the global market for biodegradable, compostable plastics is enormous. Though not as large as the $2.5 trillion conventional plastics industry, many believe that bioplastics will increasingly rival traditional plastics in the not so distant future. And if past is prologue, bioplastics seems to have a very bright future given the ubiquitous and pervasive nature of plastics themselves. Plastics are used in everything from packaging, clothes we wear, cars we drive as well as in countless other industrial applications, consumer goods and electronics.
The global market for bioplastics is estimated to be approximately 570 million pounds and is forecast to increase to 1.2 billion pounds in 2012, which represents an almost 18% annual growth rate over the next three years, according to BCC Research. Currently, bioplastics represents only 0.1% of the total plastics market. However, some predict that the global market for bioplastics could reach $20 billion by the end of 2020. This is being driven by consumers’ preferences for sustainable plastic solutions that protect the health and the environment, higher oil prices, which make bio-based plastics a better value proposition, and manufacturing technology that has resulted in materials that are performance competitive and 100% recyclable.
Even simple household items such as garbage bags and trash liners stand to be revolutionized and make a big impact to our health and the welfare of our planet. It is estimated that that 500 billion to one trillion bags are made across the world each year, requiring millions of barrels of oil in their production, not to mention colorants and inks that can be toxic to human health and the environment. They are then discarded, with only about 1% being recycled, and are left to pollute our oceans, lakes, rivers, and grass lands, being blow away and becoming non-compostable litter, the equivalent of dumping millions of barrels of oil into the environment each year. Unlike bioplastics, conventional plastics do not biodegrade, and remain in as pollutants indefinitely. A number of companies, such as Trellis Earth Products, have already realized the extent of the problem and have begun producing bioplastic bags and food packaging that is biodegradable.
Trellis is a leader in supplying and manufacturing branded biodegradable food packaging and plastic bags that are made from renewable resources and sold to many restaurants and businesses across the country. Its products range from 30% biomass to 100% biomass and various tiers in between. Trellis’s biodegradable trash liner, which can decompose in both landfill conditions (in the presence of other bioactive matter), has the ability to change the evolution of how trash is treated. Whether trash becomes a fuel source, via methane capture in landfills, or bioplastics are used as a recycling feedstock, or in some cases as compostable nutrients, they can play a major role in the reduction of the use of toxic petrochemicals and their impact on the environment. Trellis’s products offer cost advantages that will allow more and more businesses to switch to bioplastics at the same price as traditional plastics and ‘Go Green for Free.’
Founded in 2006, Trellis is an early established innovator in bioplastics and sustainable food service packing and plastic bags with over 100 SKUs and integrated branding, manufacturing and distribution selling to major retail chains and corporations in the U.S. Trellis products employ a proprietary blend of biomass and conventional polymers for a lower blended average cost of materials. For more information, please visit Trellis website: www.TrellisEarth.com