76West is an unparalleled competition focused on growing entrepreneurs and attracting resources from the U.S. and around the world to build clean energy businesses and jobs in New York State’s Southern Tier region. 76West is designed to further develop the regional community of clean energy technology innovators, industry experts, educators, and investors.
Due to its disruptive technology to reduce plastic waste in the environment, Radical Plastics won 500 K Award at the 76West Competition.
Plastics are one of the most important inventions of the last century. They’re strong, lightweight, cost-effective materials that have transformed our lives. Plastics is a $650 Billion dollar industry. But plastics have a problem: They don’t go away. In fact, around 80% of all the plastics ever made are still here.
Currently, only around 4% of plastics are actually recycled. And as more countries turn away incoming shipments of plastics, the problem is only worsening. In addition, it's been estimated that around 8 million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans each year, threatening wildlife and human health.
At Radical Plastics, a technology was developed that involves blending conventional plastics with a proprietary, naturally-occurring catalyst. When properly compounded, this catalyst has the ability to render plastic biodegradable in the natural environment.
This two-stage degradation process begins with a chemical phase, in which the long polymer molecules are broken down to smaller components by a free radical mechanism.
This triggers a second, biological phase in which microorganisms in the environment see these components as food and metabolize the material turning it into biomass, CO2 and water.
?Radical Plastics technology can make a significant contribution in the battle against plastic pollution. By replacing existing, non-degradable plastics with biodegradable compounds from Radical Plastics, converters and brand owners can enjoy the outstanding properties of conventional plastics with the added benefit of complete biodegradability.
The initial target market for Radical Plastics is soil degradable films for agriculture. Farmers use approximately 2.6 billion pounds of plastic mulch film each year. 99% of this film is non-degradable. By providing plastic films that have the same physical properties, but don't need to be collected at the end of the season, Radical Plastics can save the farmer time and money while reducing overall environmental impact.
Radical Plastics plans to expand this technology to the flexible packaging and single use plastics market by 2021.