A European research team says it is now able to make biodegradeable plastic straws made of PHA.
The Spanish Polymers and Advanced Materials Group at Universitat Jaume I, in collaboration with the IATA-CSIC and bioresins expert Ocenic Resins, S.L., says the new formulation yields a bioplastic straw that will biodegrade in both soil and the marine environment.
The news comes following earlier announcements from U.S.-based PHA producer Danimer Scientific and UrthPact, a contract manufacturer of single-use compostable products, who collaborated on the production of biodegradable straws made from Danimer’s proprietary Nodax PHA.
PHAs are biopolyesters produced by microorganisms under controlled feeding conditions through, for example, the bacterial fermentation of sugars or lipids, that serve as both a source of energy and as a carbon store. Among the environmental advantages of these plastics is the fact that they are naturally synthesized by living beings; so their disintegration in the environment occurs spontaneously, allowing them to serve as food to the same bacteria that produce them.
“Moreover, the properties of these materials are excellent for the manufacturing of single-use products and food packaging,” said Luis Cabedo Mas, the researcher in charge of the project.
Unlike paper straws, PHA straws are resistant to hot liquids and will not alter the flavor of the beverage.
The material can be processed using the current plastic processing technologies, making it an appealing option for companies in the sector.
Ocenic Resins, S.L. is already manufacturing the straws at industrial scale. Their commercial availability is expected to follow soon.