Basics of Bioplastics
What are Bioplastics ?
Bioplastics are plastics that are bio-based, biodegradable, or both. They have the same or similar properties as conventional plastics but offer additional benefits such as reduced carbon footprint, reduced dependence on fossil fuels, better functionalities, and improved waste reduction.
Growing in Demand
Single use plastic regulations are increasingly being implemented in countries around the world including the Canadian Federal ban on track to be implemented for 2021. There is a further global push for increased regulations to support bio-based plastic mandates.
Climate change concerns are spurring demand for products that are more sustainably made and disposed of. Traditional plastics have a large carbon footprint through their dependence on fossil fuels and result in the formation of microplastics that take hundreds of years to degrade.
Waste reduction and management has a promising future through bioplastics as an alternative to traditional plastic. The rate of plastic recycling barely exceeds 25%, meaning that plastic pollution inevitably ends up in landfills, incinerators, public places, and bodies of water.
Every year, 640,000 tons of discarded fishing gear enter our oceans. Abandoned fishing equipment has the longest lifespan of any plastic marine debris (600+ years) and has disproportionality higher impacts to marine wildlife compared to other types of debris through its potential to entangle, ensnare or be ingested.
We have developed a patent-pending innovation for reducing marine plastic pollution. Our innovation is a stimuli-responsive biopolymer that reacts to its surroundings in water to fully degrade within two years. The unique controlled degradation means that the gear will not degrade when out of water or when being used, but will degrade when abandoned.
Currently, our bioplastic Smart Pellets are ready to be integrated into production lines. They are fully marine biodegradable and compostable plastic. We have prototypes available for gear tags and are working on the development of fish feed bags, fishing lines, and nets.
Our technology has significant opportunities for utilization in other product applications.
Future applications we are looking into include:
- • Additional fishery and aquaculture applications including biodegradable oyster & shellfish packaging
- • Bio-based foam insulation
- • Biodegradable single use surgical masks
- • Flexible packaging material
- • Electrostatic bags using graphene
- • And many more!
Our Vision for a Circular Bioeconomy in Canada
A circular bioeconomy is defined as the utilization of waste and by-product streams from forestry, agriculture, and marine ecosystems and industry that can be converted into value-added renewable based bio products, biocomposites, and materials that are recyclable.
A circular bioeconomy is projected to reach a $240 billion market size in Canada in 2030 and we hope to be at the forefront of this emerging market