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Sulzer’s PLAnet bioplastic technology creates market opportunities for sugar producers

The growing appetite for sustainable bioplastic made from polylactic acid (PLA) is opening new doors to corn, sugar beet and sugar cane farmers. Their produce offers access to unique opportunities for business growth. How can the agricultural industry get a foothold in this market landscape?
Alex Battù, Sales Manager at Sulzer, looks at how transforming sugars into PLA bioplastic can benefit farmers and sugar producers.
A number of alternatives, non-traditional market opportunities can help agricultural businesses to add value to their products and maximize revenue. In particular, the produce from corn, sugar cane and sugar beet farmers can be used as a key feedstock for new, greener materials, such as PLA biopolymers for biodegradable plastics. These help to reduce our reliance on non-renewable and often non-recyclable fossil fuel-based products.
A great future for bioplastics
While the need for sustainable, recyclable and biodegradable alternatives to conventional plastic grows steadily, PLA offers an economical and versatile solution for a wide range of different applications. These include raw materials for 3D printing, textiles, electronic devices, automotive components and packaging for the food and beverage sectors. In addition, thanks to PLA’s biocompatibility, the material is suitable for medical use, e.g. suture yarns and implants.
Getting a foothold in the PLA market is more easily achieved than entering other sectors that can be highly regulated and very competitive. Furthermore, while bioplastics are currently considered a niche area, the market is skyrocketing and is expected to at least triple its market size by 2025.
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