As the war on plastics continues to gather pace, a string of corporates including Reebok and Lego have moved to incorporate bioplastics into their products in a shift away from fossil fuel-based materials.
But with critics citing the ethical and environmental pitfalls of using farmland to grow plants for plastics rather than produce, Canadian startup Genecis has developed a method that allows food waste – rather than fresh crops – to be upcycled into bioplastic.
Led by students from the University of Toronto Scarborough, the firm uses the same methods currently used to turn corn, sugar cane and canola into polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) to upcycle food waste on a smaller scale. The result is a compostable material that can completely degrade outside of industrial conditions within a year.
Genecis says it has processed a total of 1,080kg of food waste to date. It is now working to commercialize its first PHA bioplastic pellet product line.