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A New Approach to Plastics

NSF Award:

SBIR Phase II: Development of Low-Cost, Biodegradable Substitutes for Disposable Plastics  (R&D Green Materials, LLC)

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Biodegradable packaging is environmentally friendly and can provide cheaper alternatives to current packaging products. To advance these materials, researchers at Green Materials, LLC, a small business in Pennsylvania, are using wheat and corn gluten and innovative, environmentally friendly processes to develop bio-based plastic prototypes. The resulting formulation and production processes for each prototype are designed to meet the needs of large manufacturing companies and consumers.

The goal of this research is to refine formulations and processes to produce acceptable biodegradable prototypes for industrial customers in the packaging and gardening industries. The reduction of plastic pollution should exert a positive effect on human health through reduced exposure to carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.

Entirely composed of plant proteins, wheat gluten or corn gluten, plastic waste could be further processed (for example, by grinding) for disposal use as fertilizer or animal feed, adding considerable commercial value to the product. Compared to synthetic polymers, the unique bio-based polymers used in the prototypes can reduce environmental impact, minimize pollution and conserve resources.

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  • environmentally friendly bio-based plastic products and packaging
Environmentally friendly bio-based plastic products and packaging
Dara Woerdeman, R&D Green Materials, LLC

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