The global biodegradable polymer market is estimated at £932 million (~ $1,518 billion) in 2011 and is expected to increase at a 22% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach £2.5 billion (~ $4 billion) in 2016, according to a new report from The global biodegradable polymer market is expected to have its largest growth over the next five years, dominated by packaging and usage in fibers.

The packaging segment accounted for 70% of total volume in 2010 and is expected to slightly decrease to about 66% by 2016. This sector is worth £656 million (~ $1 billion) in 2011 and should increase at a 20.5% CAGR to reach nearly £1.7 billion (~ $2.7 billion) in 2016.

The fibers/fabrics segment will show substantial growth over the forecast period, especially in the hygiene market segment. The use of biodegradable polymers in fibers and fabrics is valued at an estimated £134 million (~ $218 million) in 2011 and is expected to reach £435 million (~ $708 million) in 2016, reflecting a 26.6% CAGR.

New biodegradable polymers are being introduced, accompanied by a continuing withdrawal of other products. In addition, key companies are entering and leaving this market, with more of the former rather than the latter. The industry has been characterized by new technologies, tightening environmental restraints, and very unstable oil prices, among other issues. This combination of factors necessitates a realistic appraisal of the impact of these polymers over the next five years. High oil prices are said to be a major driver for biodegradable polymers.

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