In a press release published on April 22, 2020, market research firm Clarivate announced the publication of a report analyzing the pace of innovation of bioplastics. Overall, it found that bioplastics are still in an early developmental stage with no single company dominating the landscape. It reported that the volume of patents for bioplastics packaging in the food, beverage, and cosmetic sectors increased from 58% to 70%, which was at the same pace as overall patent volumes. The innovation profile for bioplastics was found to be spread “across the supply chain of packaging, from academia through to fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) firms performing and patenting research.”

The focus within innovations has largely been centered around the mechanical properties of bioplastic materials in order to match the durability offered by petrochemical-based plastics. The report identified 488 inventions that cite mechanical strength as the motivation compared to 331 with a focus on biodegradable properties. While the report does note exciting innovations in the field, bioplastics were found to still have a small share of the market with global production in 2019 measuring 2.11 million tons compared to the near 360 million tons of all plastics produced annually. According to the US and EU patent offices, biodegradable or recyclable plastics made up 8% of trademark applications filed between 2000 and 2019. The analysis finds that “factors such as bioplastics’ lack of mechanical strength compared to its petrochemical-based counterpart and the economics of production are holding back its growth and development.”

Clarivate’s president commented that “our report reveals plastic is, and will continue to be, a part of our daily life. However, investments in the further development of bioplastics, re-think of traditional plastics design or responsible usage and disposal, will help reduce dependence on traditional plastics.”

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Yahoo Finance (April 22, 2020). “Bioplastics Innovations Lagging Behind Public Sentiment for Sustainable Plastics Alternatives, Says New Clarivate Report.”

Karen Laird (April 23, 2020). “More bioplastics innovation needed to offer a credible sustainable alternative.” Sustainable Plastics


Clarivate (April 2020). “From the plastics present to a sustainable future.”