The global market for biodegradable plastics is expanding rapidly, driven by an increasing range of applications, technological advancements and growing demand in the Asia-Pacific region.

The market is expected to be worth $3.47 billion by 2019, after expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.01 percent between 2014 and 2019, according to a new report by Research and Markets.

Packaging is the most common use of biodegradable plastics, followed by fibers, agriculture and injection molding. The research firm said that demand for eco-friendly packaging made from bio-based plastics is growing at a high rate. Strong demand is expected for products such as polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) and starch-based plastics and by the end of the forecast period the value of the market for biodegradable plastics in packaging will be worth an estimated $2 billion.

Injection molding is another application market that is performing strongly.

Overall, decreasing costs of biodegradable plastics manufacturing plus growing environmental awareness are further driving the biodegradable plastics market globally. Environmental legislation in various countries has encouraged the use of bio-based plastics, especially in carrier bags and packages.

Most bio-based plastics are biodegradable and compostable, allowing them to decompose rapidly.

Research and Markets found that PHA is the fastest growing type of biodegradable plastic, driven by its high use in tissue engineering, wound healing and drug delivery. With scope for expansion in the packaging market for biodegradable plastics, a further increase in the use of PHA biodegradable plastics is expected in the future.