South Australia's parliament recently passed a law to ban the use of single-use plastics. Despite the delay of new regulations until 2021 due to the outbreak of epidemic, the frequent occurrence of plastic bans around the world has caused great concern in the industry.
Plastic waste has been a global environmental problem. According to statistics, about 8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean every year. This means that every metre of coastline around the world adds about 15 new plastic bags, which would take 470 years to decompose completely in the natural environment. The shocking plastic waste pollution has caused serious harm to the Marine ecology and the earth's environment. Plastic waste pollution also causes huge losses to the global economy each year. In this context, biodegradable materials have gradually become an effective way to alleviate plastic pollution sought after by countries around the world.
According to incomplete statistics, more than 60 countries around the world have issued policies or laws to restrict the use of plastics, promoting the use of biodegradable materials through taxes on plastic bags, voluntary agreements and a total ban. The development of biodegradable plastics has been further promoted with the introduction of the prohibition policy on disposable plastic products that are not easy to be recycled.
Developed countries to the United States, the European Union, Japan waste plastic recycling rate as high as 50%. The recycling rate of waste plastics in developing and underdeveloped countries is only about 20%. The pollution caused by imperfect waste plastic disposal has become the focus of the society, which makes biodegradable plastics become a research and development hotspot. The global production capacity of bio-based materials is about 33 million tons, and that of bio-based polymers is about 6.5 million tons, with a compound annual growth rate of 27%.
The blue ocean of PLA market is also a characteristic of biodegradable plastics. As a kind of plastic, biodegradable plastics have excellent processing performance and biodegradable characteristics. Polylactic acid (PLA) is the most common and widely used degradable plastics. With the rapid development of biodegradable plastics, the price of poly (lactic acid) has been rising rapidly, making it difficult to obtain a good supply. The global shortfall is between 100,000 and 150,000 tons.
It can be said that the ban/plastic limit has brought a golden opportunity for the development of biodegradable materials. At the same time, don't biodegradable materials with plastic characteristics and able to meet environmental protection requirements also become a "powerful tool" for the transformation of the industry, maintaining sustainable development and protecting the environment?