Bioplastics are becoming a big deal as brands and corporations of every size and in every industry sector look for materials, packaging, and ingredients with less environmental impact than plastics made using petrochemicals. And this is as true in the beauty industry as it is anywhere else.
Frost & Sullivan identifies opportunities in the bioplastics market
The market research and growth strategy consulting firm recently published a report called Frost Radar in the Global Bioplastics Market that highlights 8 companies with significant growth and / or innovation in bioplastics.
“Bioplastics are,” according to a version of the report made available to Cosmetics Design, “derived from renewable biomass such as corn, sugarcane, or cellulose. Microorganisms (e.g., bacteria and fungi) can break down biodegradable bioplastics into water, carbon dioxide, methane, or other biomass.”
The overview section of the report also takes care to note that bioplastics are often comparable, in appearance and function, to conventional plastics; and it lists out the biodegradable and non-biodegradable versions of bioplastics on the market today. Remarkably, “non-biodegradable polymers had a 56.8% share of the bioplastics market in 2018,” reports Frost & Sullivan.
These bioplastic materials, according to the Frost & Sullivan report, are biodegradable:
- Polybutylene adipate-co-terephthalate (PBAT)
- Polybutylene succinate (PBS)
- Polylactic acid (PLA)
- Poly-hydroxy-alkanoate (PHA)
- starch blends
These bioplastics are not biodegradable:
- Polyamide (PA)
- Polyethylene (PE)
- Polyethylene furanoate (PEF)
- Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
Growing and innovative bioplastics companies
All 8 companies featured in the new Forst & Sullivan bioplastics report supply the cosmetics and personal care industry with packaging materials and many of them supply ingredients as well. The companies featured are Arkema, BASF, Braskem, Corbion, DSM, DuPont, NatureWorks, and Novamont.
NatureWorks got its start in 1989 as a research project at Cargill and is now co-owned by Cargill and Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical. This company, for instance, makes bioplastic materials that are used to make facial wipes, sheet masks, and cosmetic packaging.
BASF is also highlighted in the report. In the information shared with Cosmetics Design, Frost & Sullivan explains that the companies ecovio portfolio of materials is one to watch because of its biodegradability. The materials are apparently certified biodegradable in both industrial facilities and home composting scenarios.
“The biobased portion [of ecovio] can be adjusted to suit client requirements,” explains a company PDF on the material. “ecovio consists of the compostable and biodegradable BASF polymer ecoflex and polylactic acid (PLA), which is derived from corn or other sugar generating plants like manioc. In contrast to simple starch-based bioplastics, ecovio is more resistant to mechanical stress and moisture.”
Beauty makers are looking for any and all solutions to plastic issues
Bioplastics aren’t the only solution to plastic pollution. Beauty makers like Unilever and L’Oréal are taking other approaches to make plastic more sustainable and to reduce its use in the industry all together.
This summer L’Oréal invested in Corbio’s biotech plastics recycling initiative. The new technology uses biological mechanisms to break plastic down into new usable materials. More recently the company launched a global student challenge to source ways of eliminating plastic from the beauty industry entirely.
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.