LAUNCH Green Chemistry

Michael Waggoner: Grow Plastics

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Michael Waggoner: Grow Plastics

Grow Plastics expands bioplastics to make the greenest and best performing packaging available.

THE PROBLEM

The United States disposes of 14 billion pounds of plastic items, just in foodservice. Each pound of petroleum based plastic generates around 2.5 pounds of CO2 emissions, and may leach carcinogens and estrogen mimicking chemicals into foods. Bioplastics (polymers made from plants) help ease these issues, but price and performance issues are limiting their adoption.

THE INNOVATION

Grow Plastics is a material science startup with the capability to create micro-scale sandwich core structures in bioplastics, in an inline process. This patent-pending structure allows Grow Plastics to improve the performance of bioplastics, while lowering part costs through reduced material use. All products produced are compostable and recyclable, and we use only starch based plastics without plasticizers in our process.

STAGE OF INNOVATION: Tested Prototype

THE VISION

Grow Plastics wants to replace all the world’s plastic with half as much bioplastic. This will eliminate billions of pounds of waste, reduce human exposure to harmful chemicals, and eliminate the production of billions of pounds of carbon dioxide. We’re working on disrupting the food packaging market, and seeking more applications where greener/cheaper/better performing materials are desired.

“We engineer bioplastics to change their micro-structure. This makes them better performing, less expensive, and suitable for more applications.” – Mike Waggoner