Bainbridge company creating biodegradable plastic resin, an alternative to fossil-fuel based plastics

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BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (WCTV) -- A company working out of Bainbridge, Georgia, is introducing a new product called biodegradable plastic resin.

WCTV reported about multiple businesses in Tallahassee changing over from classic plastic straws to environmentally friendly options; this new technology could offer another avenue for those looking operate their restaurants in a more sustainable way.

Danimer Scientific has created an alternative to fossil-fuel based plastics.

"There's an array of different things that can actually be made with that polymer, that's found inside that bacteria, which is called PHA," said one expert.

The resin can be made into a variety of items, such as straws, containers, or cutlery.

It uses a fermentation process, feeding bacteria vegetable oil.

"They fatten up and they multiply, they get bigger," said CEO Stephen Croskrey. "We extract their stored energy reserve, which I call bug fat. We extract that, the bug fat, and that is the plastic resin."

No matter where the product ends up, it will decompose.

"It could get thrown away with food, compost like that, it will go away; you could put it with garden compost in your backyard, it will go away," said Croskrey.

The plastic resin is the first product to be certified for marine bio-degradation, meaning it will not hurt oceans or marine life if it ends up there. Bacteria currently existing in water will eat the material.

Tallahassee City Commissioner and restaurant owner Jeremy Matlow has encouraged local businesses to do away with plastic and Styrofoam if possible.

"A lot of these projects last thousands and thousands of years in our oceans, and they're not going away," said Commissioner Matlow. "So if there's an alternative, that serves the same purpose, why wouldn't we switch?"

The biodegradable plastic follows the mission of Danimer Scientific, to take better care of the earth.

"We want to help clean it up and do better," said Croskrey. "We know it's going to take a long time, but we have the holy grail of plastic here!"

The plastic resin is set to hit the market this coming fall.

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