Polylactic Acid (PLA) is thermoplastic polyester derived from renewable feedstock such as corn starch, sugarcane, wheat and tapioca roots. PLA products contain bio-based renewable constituents. The global PLA market is expected to reach a market size of $5.2 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 19.5% during 2013 to 2020. Limited fossil fuel resources and rising petrochemical price are the key factors driving the market. Limited fossil fuel resources, is an important reason for governments and companies to find substitutes to crude oil based products. Growing environmental concerns and government regulations is further assisting in adoption of PLA by end users of final products as well as manufacturers in industries such as textile, packaging, transportation, electronics, etc.
However, there are certain factors that are hindering the growth of the market. Though PLA is a bio-based material and can be degraded completely, it requires specific industrial composting system to get completely degraded. Moreover, there are other renewable packaging alternatives hitting the market, for example agricultural fiber products produced using natural fibers such as bamboo, bagasse, bulrush and palm fiber. These alternatives might restraint the market growth. Reinforcement of PLA with other materials creates huge opportunities for future. As natural fibers are low cost and degradable, it’s reinforcement with PLA leads to a material which is economical as well as ecological. New technologies are used to reinforce fiber in PLA so as to give it more strength and stiffness as well as many other features suitable for specific applications.
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