Turning Food Wastes into Bioplastics
Producing PHA with Fermentation and Bacteria
Growing volumes of organic and plastic waste clog landfills, contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, and create pollution threats to both terrestrial and marine environments.
Full Cycle Bioplastics addresses this problem with their proprietary technology that converts organic wastes, such as inedible food waste, agricultural by-products and dirty paper/cardboard, into a compostable bioplastic called polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) that degrades harmlessly in the soil and the ocean.
Full Cycle licenses its technology to large waste producers and handlers, such as landfills, compost sites, MRF’s, food or beverage processors, and paper mills. These licensees can then convert discarded material and by-products into bioplastic resin. The output, PHA, is a naturally occurring polymer made intracellularly by bacteria, yet is an adaptable, high-performing replacement for fossil-fuel derived alternatives like polyethylene or polypropylene, according to Full Cycle Bioplastics. At end-of-life, PHA products can re-enter the FCB system as feedstock to be up-cycled again and again into virgin PHA.
The company's approach uses fermentation and then bacteria to create the bioplastic from the organic waste. In a first step, waste is broken down and becomes feed-stock for PHA. Nearly any organic waste can be converted into a consistent, high value product, according to Full Cycle Bioplastics.
Once the feedstock is perfectly adjusted, it is dosed into an environmentally conditioned tank of naturally occurring bacteria, where it is consumed and converted into PHA. There are no Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) used in this process. This significantly lowers our production costs and eliminates the need for expensive laboratory grade sterility or containment. The PHA is then dried and processed into a finished resin product, ready for compounding. PHA properties can vary to meet customer needs.
Full Cycle Bioplastics is receiving a USD 50,000 grant from the Closed Loop Foundation, a non-profit offshoot of the Closed Loop Fund that provides loans to help promote recycling around the country. The grant gives Full Cycle Bioplastics, based in Richmond, Calif., resources to move beyond laboratory work creating the polymer polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA).