What do I mean with the “Best Bioplastics Companies” in 2021? The companies who shined, thrived, scored and performed the best. I ranked them in order of importance based on what they did in 2021.
Here are the Champions of 2021
- TotalEnergies Corbion
- Mitsubishi Chemical
- Biome Bioplastics
BASF was the best company of 2021. You can and should read the article that elaborates why BASF was the best in 2021 (Best Bioplastic Company Award 2021). Here’s a fragment:
They were superior and outplayed everybody else; it seemed like they were playing in another league. BASF faces the same challenges as the other chemical and plastics companies such as digitalisation, corporate restructuring, sustainability requirements, setting future proof strategies and visions …. but it looked as if BASF was the only company that was moving forward and winning while dealing with these existential issues.
BASF is a leader and a force to be reckoned with in bioplastics and chemical recycling.
It’s been a fantastic year for PBAT. PBAT is the leading biodegradable copolymer. If there’s a plastic that biodegrades, the chances are high that PBAT has been mixed with the polymer. And if it’s PBAT, the chances are high that it was made by BASF. Their brands are Ecoflex and Ecovio
- Mulch Films
Agricultural mulch films are a growth segment for bioplastics. BASF is a major player in biodegradable agricultural mulch films.
“ChemCycling” is the brand for their chemical recycling business. It’s the best and coolest brand name in chemical recycling. The brand says it all.
2. TOTALENERGIES CORBION
TotalEnergies Corbion (TC) is doing great and has become the centerpiece of the bioplastic puzzle. They are the current industry “leaders”.
- New CEO and CFO
TotalEnergies Corbion appointed Thomas Philipon as new CEO and Chiel Rietvelt as new CFO at the end of 2020 (More).
PLA is a growing market. PLA is a top material for 3D Printing, medical applications and packaging. It has a better market penetration than other bioplastics. TotalEnergies Corbion is the world’s second largest producer with approximately 100.000 tons / year.
Total Energies Corbion will build their second PLA plant in France (Grandpuits) and it will be operational in 2024. The plant will cost around € 200 million. Total Corbion will become the world’s biggest producer of PLA and the bioplastic leader (More).
TotalEnergies Corbion is a joint venture between Corbion (NL) and TotalEnergies (FR). Having the backup of a major oil and plastic company is an asset.
3. MITSUBISHI CHEMICAL
Mitsubishi Chemical is discreet but very active in bioplastics. Discretion is part of the traditional Japanese culture. However, we have witnessed a change in management over the past few years.
BioPBS is marketed by PTT MCC Biochem, a joint venture between PTT Global Chemical and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation. The material was described in 2018 as made with Mitsubishi Chemical‘s polybutylene succinate (PBS) and PTT’s polylactic acid (PLA).
Mitsubishi Chemical announced the development of Bio-PTMG (Poly tetramethylene ether glycol) made from plant-derived raw materials. PTMG is used to add flexibility to polyurethane elastic fiber (spandex) (More).
- Partnerships and Acquisitions
It was a very active year for Mitsubishi Chemical. They licensed their Bio-Polyester patent to Mitsui Chemicals (more) and Kuraray Group (More). Partnered with Covestro on Polycarbonate Composites recycling (More) and invested in marine degradable plastics research (More).
Eastman was one of the best in 2021. They were one of the most dynamic companies. It was probably their best year in terms of marketing and communications.
Eastman is going strong in the recycling segment as well. They surf on bioplastic and recycled content. Diversity seems to be their strength.
- Chemical Recycling
Eastman announced the construction of a world-scale plastic-to-plastic molecular recycling facility in the US (More).
They partnered with USAMP and PADNOS on a concept feasibility study to demonstrate a closed-loop project to recycle automotive-industry mixed plastic waste in the automotive supply chain (More).
- Tritan Renew
They introduced their Tritan™ Renew copolyester (more)
Futamura is the leader in bioplastics film packaging. They’re making cellulosic films under the brand name “Natureflex”. Futamura is also the owner of the original “Cellophane” brand. The French word to say plastic film.
- Cellulosic Film
Cellulosic film packaging is gaining in popularity and Futamura has a strong product. It is perceived as sustainable.
Probably one of the strongest bioplastic brands. They’re doing a very good job in terms of sales. They must have a nice portfolio of clients.
- Improved Marcom
Futamura improved their communications and sales a lot last year. They’re more visible in debates around biodegradation etc.
- Production Capacity
Producing and selling, Futamura is doing both. Futamura UK has announced investment plans including a new spinning machine for the production of cellulosic films (More)
Neste has become the world leader in biofuels and sustainable aviation fuels. They’re positioning themselves as the leader in renewable feedstock.
- Development Abroad
They have successfully managed to position themselves as the “place to be” or the “person to talk” to when it comes to “renewable” feedstock. They have successfully promoted the term “renewable” feedstock across the industry. A strategic safe haven for their feedstock business.
- Palm Oil
Neste has palm oil in their renewable feedstock mix. Palm oil is a highly sensitive topic in terms of sustainability and human rights. To what extent is Neste vulnerable to exposure to palm oil scandals?
NatureWorks is a joint venture between Cargill (US) and PTT Global Chemical (Thai). What new things to say about NatureWorks? They are becoming more and more active in terms of communications and marketing.
- Production Capacity
End 2020, they announced the production increase of their PLA brand “Ingeo” by 10% (More).
- Second Plant
They have announced that they will build their second PLA plant in Thailand where Total Corbion has its PLA plant. The fully integrated plant with a capacity of 75.000 ton Per year will cost around $600 Million.
- 3D Filament and Coffee Pods
3D filaments and Coffee pods are an important market for PLA and NatureWorks is the PLA market leader with a strong product.
- GreenScreen Certification
NatureWorks was the first to obtain a GreenScreen certification in the bioplastics industry. This is a certification and safety standard to guarantee that the food service ware doesn’t contain PFAS (forever chemicals) (More).
Polymateria is the new kid on the block but is already a master in marketing and communications. 2021 was the year for Polymateria.
Polymateria describe their biotransformation technology as revolutionary and a new approach to ensuring that plastic which has escaped refuse streams can fully biodegrade in the natural environment.
They launched their new brand “LifeCycle” (More) for cups, flexible films and cutlery.
- World Economic Forum
They were awarded as Technology Pioneers of 2021 by the World Economic Forum (More).
They made it on National Geographic (More). They were supported by world famous actress Robin Wright (More) and Prince Charles (More). And partnered with Extreme E in the new electric racing series (More).
- Big in Asia
Tipa has become one of the most if not the most successful bioplastic start up. One of their assets is their charismatic leader Daphna Nissenbaum. She’s extremely efficient in building networks.
They raised $ 10 Millions (More), hired a new sales director for Australia and New Zealand (More) and aimed at North America (More). They partnered with Amcor in Australia (More), Scotch & Soda (More) and Santini Cycling Wear (More).
- Double Shelf Life
Tipa was the first to come up with the claim that compostable plastics packaging may extend shelf life for food (More).
Tipa is one of the most active companies in terms of communication and to defend the compostable plastic segment. They even made it to The Sun newspaper (More).
- Pilot Composting project
They launched a pilot to compost the compostable packaging of the hotel industry in France (More). They walk the walk.
10. BIOME BIOPLASTICS
BIOME Bioplastics is the UK bioplastic leader. It seems as if they did good during the crisis. Many have high expectations for this company.
- Biodegradable Tree Shelter
They made the news with their biodegradable tree shelters and may become a leader in this segment (More)
I expected Biome Bioplastics to become more visible in the future.