Alterra, DuPont partner on faster-degrading bioplastics

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New materials firm Alterra Holdings is working with DuPont Co. on bioplastic compounds that would biodegrade at faster rates.

Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) and polylactic acid (PLA) bioplastic comopounds made by Clifton, N.J.-based Alterra would contain DuPont's Nuvolve-brand polysaccharide materials. Polysaccharides can stimulate and accelerate biodegradation in landfills, officials said.

In an upcoming presentation, Alterra officials said that the firm's goal is to shift PLA and PHA biodegradation closer to cellulose without increasing cost. Alterra officials will present their findings May 23 at a bioplastics conference hosted by Innoplast Solutions in Newark, N.J.

PLA and PHA compounds using polysaccharide can be used in injection molding and thermoforming applications. PLA compounds with polysaccharide can be used in film applications as well. Some PHA applications using polysaccharide can completely biodegrade in 24 days.

Investment firm Beaconhouse Capital Management LLC of Chatham, N.J., combined several plastics materials assets to create Alterra in 2016. Alterra makes compounds based on elastomers and bioplastics — as well as some bioplastic end products — at production sites in Clifton and in Seymour, Ind.

Alterra's sales for 2017 are expected to be around $10 million. Officials have said that the firm will pursue more acquisitions of smaller companies with unique end market presence or elastomer technology.