Making Conventional Plastics Biodegradable

Good News Notes:

“With decades of experience in the polymers industry, the Radical Plastics founders have targeted the agricultural market as the initial testing ground for the commercial viability of their product. The company has been working with a third party to validate that their resin can meet the standard for degradation of a soil additive, which says the material must degrade by 90% within two years.

Conventional plastics degrade to a certain degree in the natural environment but hit a point at which the process stalls. This often results in the creation of ocean-polluting microplastics. The catalyst in the Radical Plastics resin drives the natural degradation process.

With just 0.5 to 2% of it in a polythene film, the fine mineral matter used by Radical Plastics is the ideal catalyst for degrading the film further and more comprehensively than the biodegradable plastic currently available. The biodegradable plastics presently available are mainly starch-based, have inferior physical qualities, and are challenging to handle. Radical Plastics said it is targeting the agricultural market because its material offers the industry a functional benefit.

Radical Plastic acquired a notice of allowance for its initial patent in March 2018, and the company has indicated that there are more patents to come as it expands. It recently partnered with polymer company AlphaGary to create fully formed plastic pellets that are ready for use in various applications. Radical Plastics has announced that there will initially be three grades of resin available.

One of the main benefits of the new resin is that it can be recycled with polythene, a quality that Taylor deems essential for ideal end-of-life processing. She added that putting biodegradable products in a landfill is hugely problematic.

Taylor and Kann have said they are taking a cautious approach to market their product. Citing their experience in the industry, the Radical Plastics founders said they want to show decision-makers in packaging and other industries that their material is not only physically degrading but also chemically breaking down.

Radical Plastics has won prominent competitions, including the 2018 CleanTech Open, and has been cited as a ‘company to watch.'”

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