Turning food waste into biodegradable plastics
Canadian-based company Genecis developed biological processes that convert food waste, otherwise destined for the landfill, into biodegradable plastics.
The type of plastic Genecis produces is polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). This is produced in nature by numerous microorganisms, like through bacterial fermentation of sugars. Genecis specifically produces PHBV (poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate), a type of PHA that is less stiff and tougher. It is made of food waste and said to be the first cost-competitive PHA plastic available
PHA has equivalent properties to traditional oil-based plastics, without the polluting nature. The material can be used in packaging, food services, agriculture, textiles, etc. After use, it composts within a month and biodegrades within a year if it lands in the ocean.