Gatoresin® is a revolutionary, sustainable polymer that is bio-renewable, bio-degradable and water-degradable. Developed and patented by Professor Stephen A. Miller, University of Florida. Gatoresin® utilizes an organic plant substance from agricultural feedstock waste, paper by-products, or other types of plant waste to create biodegradable, water hydrolyzed, fully functional clear plastic mimics.
Gatoresin® has overcome the low heat tolerance deficiencies that have impeded previous sustainable-degradable plastics. It is the ideal, heat-tolerant packaging material for short-term, one-off packaging, directly addressing sustainability, cost, and environmental blight.
The Plastic Problem
The plastics used today were invented almost a century ago and were never designed for today’s uses. Plastics were engineered to be indispensable, multi-functional, strong, heat-resistant, and durable enough to last many lifetimes. Non-degradable plastics account for massive accumulation in our landfills, oceans, and natural environments. (R. C. Thompson, C. J. Moore, F. S. vom Saal, S. H. Swan Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 2009, 364, http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2009.0053).
Temporary-use plastics (one-off packaging, short-life products, clothes, etc.) are having a negative, costly impact on ecology and waste management. Although the technologies exist for redesigning plastics for modern uses, product manufacturers do not consider this alternative, usually due to price and unfamiliarity. In fact, the technical substitution potential of bioplastics for replacing conventional plastics is estimated at 90%. (L. Shen, E. Worrell and M. Patel, Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, 2010, 4(1), 25-40. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bbb.189). This means that bioplastics have, or are predicted to have, suitable properties to replace most of the polymers that contribute to our standard of living. Yet, businesses and people continue to choose the familiarity and perceived low-cost of unsustainable, conventional plastics.
The Plastic Challenge
Many companies have implemented sustainability programs and green initiatives but have yet to find a viable solution for this problem. The most successful solution to date was PLA, (polylactic acid). Although a breakthrough in renewable plastic, it degrades at almost the same rate as oil-based plastics in the natural environment, landfills, or water.
- Low heat tolerances
Unfortunately, like other sustainable, semi-degradable plastics, PLA has low heat tolerances. PLA has been removed from certain packaging applications due to low heat tolerance that has caused product deformities and poor functionality. Gatoresin™ is specifically designed for modern uses and also addresses that concern.
- Minimal composting access
PLA can only degrade from contact with bacteria that commercial composting facilities offer. Nationwide, approximately 20 commercial composting facilities currently accept biodegradable plastics. The chance of a PLA product making it to a commercial composting facility is highly improbable.
An Eco-Wise Solution
Gatoresin® (PFA/PHFA) utilizes ferulic acid and other co-polymers [antioxidants] available in lignin and lignocellulose, which are abundant, naturally occurring, organic polymers found in plants. The beauty of Gatoresin™ is that it can be fabricated from a variety of types of plant waste, such as agricultural feedstock, by-products of sugar, paper production, rice bran, or other plant waste. Equally importantly—Gatoresin® has a positive environmental impact as it degrades.
- Agricultural wastes are transformed into PFA/PHFA bioplastic—not produced from the edible components of the plant
- Marine-degradable—Degrades in our oceans and waterways where traditional plastics and semi-degradables do not
- Releases beneficial antioxidants as it degrades. These antioxidants are already in your diet and notably abundant in today’s “Superfoods”
- Degrades faster—in terms of years and decades, not centuries or a millennium
- Recycled—where closed event recycling is possible, a substantial percentage of discarded Gatoresin™ products can be recycled into new products
Big Potential Of The Bioplastic Packaging Market
- Current biodegradable resins cost between $1.50 and $2.00/lb., making paper more cost-effective where applicable
- Global market for biodegradable plastic packaging reached $2.3 billion in 2013
- Annualized growth at about 17% to $7.8 billion in 2018 is expected
- Biodegradable packaging market has experienced rapid growth in the past 5 years, driven by consumer pressure and worldwide eco-sensitive legislation